Journal Articles

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 3023
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    Role of economic policy uncertainty in the connectedness of cross-country stock market volatilities
    (MDPI (Basel, Switzerland), 2020-11) Hasan M; Naeem MA; Arif M; Shahzad SJH; Nor SM
    The implied volatility index is a forward-looking indicator of fear among stock market participants. We examine the extent to which the connectedness of fear among global stock markets is driven by the cross-country connectedness of economic policy uncertainty (EPU). We use data on stock market fear and EPU indices for 13 countries, which spans from January 2011 to December 2018. To measure the connectedness among stock market fear and EPU of our sample countries, we employ two connectedness models. A cross-sectional regression model is further employed to ascertain the extent to which EPU connectedness between two countries explains the connectedness of fear between their stock markets, while controlling for bilateral linkage and country-specific factors. We find that EPU connectedness between any two partner countries significantly drives the connectedness of fear between their stock markets. The driving potential not only holds for short-and long-term connectedness, but also after controlling for bilateral linkages (bilateral trade, geographical distance, common language) and country-specific (trade and financial openness of the transmitter country) factors indicating robustness in our results.
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    The complete chloroplast genome of the first registered Paeonia Itoh hybrid cv. Hexie in China.
    (Taylor and Francis Group, 2024-06-24) Duan S; Dai R; Hao M; Shrestha DK; Dijkwel PP; Gao K; Wu J; Fan B
    The first registered Paeonia Itoh hybrid cv. Hexie in China is a naturally occurring intersectional hybrid of Sect. Paeonia and Sect. Moutan. In this study, we sequenced, assembled, and analyzed the complete chloroplast genome of Paeonia Itoh hybrid cv. Hexie. The result showed that the chloroplast genome of Hexie, with a typical circular tetrad structure, is 152,958 bp in length, comprising a large single copy (LSC) region of 84,613 bp, a small single copy (SSC) region of 17,051 bp, and two reverse complementary sequences (IRs) of 25,647 bp. The chloroplast genome encoded 116 genes, including 80 protein-coding genes, 32 tRNA genes, and 4 rRNA genes. Phylogenetic analysis inferred from the shared protein-coding genes showed that the Paeonia Itoh hybrid cv. Hexie had the closest phylogenetic relationship with P. suffruticosa, followed by P. ostii, indicating that P. suffruticosa was its maternal parent. This study provides a molecular resource for phylogenetic and maternal parent studies of Paeonia Itoh hybrid, contributing to a basis for Paeonia Itoh hybrid breeding strategies in the future.
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    Comparison of neuronal GAL4 drivers along with the AGES (auxin-inducible gene expression system) and TARGET (temporal and regional gene expression targeting) systems for fine tuning of neuronal gene expression in Drosophila.
    (Caltech Library, 2023-06-30) Hawley HR; Roberts CJ; Fitzsimons HL
    Spatial and temporal control of gene expression in Drosophila is essential in elucidating gene function. Spatial control is facilitated by the UAS/GAL4 system, and this can be coupled with additional adaptations for precise temporal control and fine tuning of gene expression levels. Here we directly compare the level of pan-neuronal transgene expression governed by nSyb-GAL4 and elav-GAL4, as well as mushroom body-specific expression alongside OK107-GAL4. We also compare the temporal modulation of gene expression in neurons with the auxin-inducible gene expression system (AGES) and temporal and regional gene expression targeting (TARGET) systems.
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    Dysphagia management in community/home settings: A scoping review investigating practices in Africa.
    (Taylor & Francis Group, 2024-02-21) Jayes M; Madima V; Marshall J; Pillay M
    PURPOSE: Little is known about how people living with dysphagia in rural, socioeconomically impoverished contexts in Africa are supported and manage their disability. This scoping review sought to map and synthesise evidence relating to the management of dysphagia in adults in community/home settings in Africa as a starting point for a broader study on this topic. METHOD: A multifaceted search strategy involved searches of electronic databases and grey literature, hand searches, ancestry searches, and consultation with expert advisors. Records were screened by two blinded researchers. Characteristics of included studies were summarised, and their findings synthesised using the Framework approach. RESULT: Six studies were included, relating to services for people with dysphagia secondary to various aetiologies. No grey literature was identified that provided service delivery descriptions or practice guidance. This limited evidence suggests little professional support is available to people living with dysphagia in the community. Individuals and carers use a range of strategies, including choosing different food and drink items and modifying how food is chewed and swallowed. CONCLUSION: Further research is required to understand current practice in managing dysphagia in the community in Africa, and the needs and priorities of community members who experience dysphagia and their carers.
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    Ankyrin2 is essential for neuronal morphogenesis and long-term courtship memory in Drosophila.
    (BioMed Central Ltd, 2023-05-16) Schwartz S; Wilson SJ; Hale TK; Fitzsimons HL
    Dysregulation of HDAC4 expression and/or nucleocytoplasmic shuttling results in impaired neuronal morphogenesis and long-term memory in Drosophila melanogaster. A recent genetic screen for genes that interact in the same molecular pathway as HDAC4 identified the cytoskeletal adapter Ankyrin2 (Ank2). Here we sought to investigate the role of Ank2 in neuronal morphogenesis, learning and memory. We found that Ank2 is expressed widely throughout the Drosophila brain where it localizes predominantly to axon tracts. Pan-neuronal knockdown of Ank2 in the mushroom body, a region critical for memory formation, resulted in defects in axon morphogenesis. Similarly, reduction of Ank2 in lobular plate tangential neurons of the optic lobe disrupted dendritic branching and arborization. Conditional knockdown of Ank2 in the mushroom body of adult Drosophila significantly impaired long-term memory (LTM) of courtship suppression, and its expression was essential in the γ neurons of the mushroom body for normal LTM. In summary, we provide the first characterization of the expression pattern of Ank2 in the adult Drosophila brain and demonstrate that Ank2 is critical for morphogenesis of the mushroom body and for the molecular processes required in the adult brain for the formation of long-term memories.
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    Estimation of genetic parameters for production, composition and processability of milk from dairy sheep in a New Zealand flock
    (Taylor and Francis Group, 2024-06-27) Marshall AC; Lopez-Villalobos N; Loveday SM; Weeks M; McNabb W
    This paper aimed to estimate the heritability and genetic correlations for processability (milk coagulation properties, cheese yield, and heat stability), milk production, and milk composition of dairy sheep in a New Zealand flock. Test-day records from 169 ewes were obtained during the 2021–2022 season. Heritability estimates for yield traits (milk, fat, protein, and lactose yield) were moderate and ranged from 0.33 to 0.38. Whereas heritability estimates for processability traits were lower and ranged from 0.17 to 0.27. The genetic correlations indicated that poorer milk coagulation properties were associated with lower mammary health indicated by higher SCS, higher pH, and lower lactose content. Additionally, a higher ratio of casein to calcium i.e. lower availability of soluble calcium was associated with poorer milk coagulation properties. Higher yields of milk, fat, protein, and lactose were associated, but to a smaller degree, with better MCP. It is proposed that genetic improvement of dairy sheep for higher yields of fat and protein, and for lower SCS, could indirectly improve milk processability for cheese-making. However, it is recommended that larger studies involving more dairy sheep flocks are conducted to validate the present results before developing a selection index for this industry.
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    Dietary Transitions Toward Sustainable Horse Feeding.
    (Elsevier B.V., 2023-07-07) Karasu GK; Rogers CW; Gee EK
    Sustainability is the balancing act of optimizing the use of current resources without compromising the current or future environment. Within the agriculture sector the primary focus of sustainability has been to reduce environmental pollution, specifically greenhouse gasses (GHG) emissions, nitrogen emissions, and leaching. For the equine industry the first step towards sustainability is the documentation and critique of current feeding and management practices to permit modifications to enable the industry meet social and legislative obligations. As a monogastric hindgut fermenter on a per kg bodyweight basis the horse has relatively lower GHG emissions compared to ruminants. However, there are several opportunities to further reduce the environmental impact of the equine industry. The majority of these relate to subtle changes, or consideration of, improving feed conversion, using alternative ingredients, and management of fecal material associated with intensive husbandry. To initiate the journey towards sustainability this review documents opportunities with current equine feeding and management practices to reduce the environmental impacts of the equine industry.
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    Condition-dependent maternal sex allocation in horses can be demonstrated using a biologically relevant, multivariable condition measurement
    (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2024-02-01) Chin YY; Rogers CW; Gee EK; Stafford KJ; Cameron EZ; Nichols H; MacLeod K; Palmer M
    Maternal condition is influenced by multiple variables that individuals experience at seasonal and local levels, and thus condition-dependent sex allocation is likely also multifactorial. Here, we test the Trivers-Willard Hypothesis (TWH) using a multivariable approach on a dataset of thoroughbred mare breeding records. There is no sex ratio variation when examined at univariable level, mirroring the usual approach to test condition-dependent sex allocation. Conversely, the multivariate model shows multiple variables interact to influence the likelihood of producing a male. Mare and management variables that represent better body condition is associated with an increase in likelihood of a male offspring. The magnitude and direction of sex ratio skew correspond closely with predicted mare energy balance, consistent with TWH predictions. Our findings therefore support the TWH and show that, while sex allocation is multifactorial, maternal energy status emerges as the dominant driver. The additive and agonistic interactions of different variables demonstrate that a multifactorial approach should be a key consideration in sex allocation studies.
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    High-resolution genomic analysis to investigate the impact of the invasive brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and other wildlife on microbial water quality assessments.
    (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2024-01-18) Moinet M; Rogers L; Biggs P; Marshall J; Muirhead R; Devane M; Stott R; Cookson A; Adenyo C
    Escherichia coli are routine indicators of fecal contamination in water quality assessments. Contrary to livestock and human activities, brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula), common invasive marsupials in Aotearoa/New Zealand, have not been thoroughly studied as a source of fecal contamination in freshwater. To investigate their potential role, Escherichia spp. isolates (n = 420) were recovered from possum gut contents and feces and were compared to those from water, soil, sediment, and periphyton samples, and from birds and other introduced mammals collected within the Mākirikiri Reserve, Dannevirke. Isolates were characterized using E. coli-specific real-time PCR targeting the uidA gene, Sanger sequencing of a partial gnd PCR product to generate a gnd sequence type (gST), and for 101 isolates, whole genome sequencing. Escherichia populations from 106 animal and environmental sample enrichments were analyzed using gnd metabarcoding. The alpha diversity of Escherichia gSTs was significantly lower in possums and animals compared with aquatic environmental samples, and some gSTs were shared between sample types, e.g., gST535 (in 85% of samples) and gST258 (71%). Forty percent of isolates gnd-typed and 75% of reads obtained by metabarcoding had gSTs shared between possums, other animals, and the environment. Core-genome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis showed limited variation between several animal and environmental isolates (<10 SNPs). Our data show at an unprecedented scale that Escherichia clones are shared between possums, other wildlife, water, and the wider environment. These findings support the potential role of possums as contributors to fecal contamination in Aotearoa/New Zealand freshwater. Our study deepens the current knowledge of Escherichia populations in under-sampled wildlife. It presents a successful application of high-resolution genomic methods for fecal source tracking, thereby broadening the analytical toolbox available to water quality managers. Phylogenetic analysis of isolates and profiling of Escherichia populations provided useful information on the source(s) of fecal contamination and suggest that comprehensive invasive species management strategies may assist in restoring not only ecosystem health but also water health where microbial water quality is compromised.
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    A novel Bayesian Latent Class Model (BLCM) evaluates multiple continuous and binary tests: A case study for Brucella abortus in dairy cattle.
    (Elsevier B.V., 2024-03-01) Wang Y; Vallée E; Compton C; Heuer C; Guo A; Wang Y; Zhang Z; Vignes M
    Bovine brucellosis, primarily caused by Brucella abortus, severely affects both animal health and human well-being. Accurate diagnosis is crucial for designing informed control and prevention measures. Lacking a gold standard test makes it challenging to determine optimal cut-off values and evaluate the diagnostic performance of tests. In this study, we developed a novel Bayesian Latent Class Model that integrates both binary and continuous testing outcomes, incorporating additional fixed (parity) and random (farm) effects, to calibrate optimal cut-off values by maximizing Youden Index. We tested 651 serum samples collected from six dairy farms in two regions of Henan Province, China with four serological tests: Rose Bengal Test, Serum Agglutination Test, Fluorescence Polarization Assay, and Competitive Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay. Our analysis revealed that the optimal cut-off values for FPA and C-ELISA were 94.2 mP and 0.403 PI, respectively. Sensitivity estimates for the four tests ranged from 69.7% to 89.9%, while specificity estimates varied between 97.1% and 99.6%. The true prevalences in the two study regions in Henan province were 4.7% and 30.3%. Parity-specific odds ratios for positive serological status ranged from 1.2 to 2.2 for different parity groups compared to primiparous cows. This approach provides a robust framework for validating diagnostic tests for both continuous and discrete tests in the absence of a gold standard test. Our findings can enhance our ability to design targeted disease detection strategies and implement effective control measures for brucellosis in Chinese dairy farms.