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CURATOR
A pinboard by
Nureni Azeez

postdoctoral fellow, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa

PINBOARD SUMMARY

There will be a collaborative data and information sharing platform among medical personnel

Information about the rampant nature of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Africa, particularly South Africa is no more a news. There is a global awareness on this. In spite of the ubiquitous nature of this ailment, patients feel highly uncomfortable with the way and manner their sensitive and classified health information are being accessed and shared. They opined that information about them are being vulnerable that people are using such against them and are such being stigmatized in the society. Although, traditional security mechanisms have been adopted over the years, researches have shown that they are suffering from platform dependency, isolation, cumbersomeness as well as inflexibility.

Against these backdrops, this research aims at building a cloud-based access control model for sharing information across nine (9) provinces (The Eastern Cape, The Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, The Northern Cape, North West) in the Republic of South Africa among Medical Experts to ensure safety, security, reliability, dependability as well as flexile information sharing framework in a collaborative environment. The proposed model will be implemented by using Role Based Access Control model (RBAC), Patient Privacy Policies Matrix and Patient Privacy Consent Document in a cloud based environment. After the laboratory experimentation, a real life implementation and deployment shall be carried out across provinces in South Africa.

16 ITEMS PINNED

Chlorthalidone decreases platelet aggregation and vascular permeability and promotes angiogenesis.

Abstract: Variations in diuretic-mediated inhibition of carbonic anhydrase-dependent chloride transport in platelets and vascular smooth muscle could account for the contrasting efficacy of the thiazide and thiazide-like diuretics in reducing cardiovascular morbidity in patients with hypertension. We assessed platelet carbonic anhydrase activity and catecholamine-induced platelet aggregation in the presence of a thiazide and a "thiazide-like" inhibitor of the sodium-chloride cotransporter. Individual variation in platelet carbonic anhydrase activity correlated with contrasting sensitivity to epinephrine-mediated platelet aggregation. Both chlorthalidone, which potently inhibits platelet carbonic anhydrase, and bendroflumethiazide, which has much less effect on this enzyme, increased the amount of epinephrine needed to induce platelet aggregation when compared with the absence of a diuretic. However, chlorthalidone was significantly more effective than bendroflumethiazide in reducing epinephrine-mediated platelet aggregation. Chlorthalidone also induced marked changes in the number of gene transcripts for two proteins that mediate angiogenesis and vascular permeability, vascular endothelial growth factor C and transforming growth factor-beta3; chlorthalidone and bendroflumethiazide had contrasting effects on the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor C. Chlorthalidone and bendroflumethiazide reduced vascular permeability to albumin, but only chlorthalidone increased angiogenesis. Thiazides and thiazide-like diuretics can comparably reduce blood pressure, but the drugs in this class are not all alike. It can be suggested from our findings that thiazide and thiazide-like diuretics vary in their pleiotropic effects on platelets and in the vasculature, and these differences could explain the contrasting ability of these drugs to reduce cardiovascular morbidity despite comparable reduction in blood pressure.

Pub.: 14 Jul '10, Pinned: 28 Aug '17

Position of indapamide, a diuretic with vasorelaxant activities, in antihypertensive therapy.

Abstract: Diuretics play a pivotal role in the management of hypertension. A large experience has been accumulated with indapamide , a long-acting thiazide-like diuretic that lowers blood pressure (BP) primarily through its natriuretic diuretic effect. Some of its long-term antihypertensive efficacy may be due to calcium antagonist-like vasorelaxant activities. Indapamide has protecting effects in a variety of conditions associated with high cardiovascular risk, such as diabetes, left ventricular hypertrophy, nephropathy and stroke. It is highly effective in lowering BP, whether given alone or in combination. Indapamide is well tolerated and has the advantage of having no adverse impact on glucose and lipid metabolism. Today, thiazide-like diuretics are regarded more and more as preferred drugs, when diuretic therapy is required to lower BP.The aim of this paper is to review the experience accumulated with indapamide. It is limited to clinical studies that are relevant for the everyday management of hypertensive patients, whether or not they exhibit cardiovascular or renal disease.Indapamide, because of its well-documented beneficial effects on cardiovascular and renal outcomes, represents a safe and valuable option for treating patients with high BP. There is, however, still room for new trials evaluating the combination of this diuretic with other types of antihypertensive drugs, in particular a calcium antagonist such as amlodipine. There is also the need to compare the indapamide-perindopril and indapamide-amlodipine combinations, in terms of antihypertensive efficacy, tolerability and effects on target organ damage and, ideally, on cardiovascular mortality.

Pub.: 26 Jun '12, Pinned: 28 Aug '17

Connectedness as a Core Conservation Concern: An Interdisciplinary Review of Theory and a Call for Practice

Abstract: Calls for society to ‘reconnect with nature’ are commonplace in the scientific literature and popular environmental discourse. However, the expression is often used haphazardly without the clarity of the process involved, the practical outcomes desired, and/or the relevance to conservation. This interdisciplinary review finds that the Western disconnect from nature is central to the convergent social-ecological crises and is primarily a problem in consciousness. Connectedness with nature (CWN) is therefore defined as a stable state of consciousness comprising symbiotic cognitive, affective, and experiential traits that reflect, through consistent attitudes and behaviors, a sustained awareness of the interrelatedness between one’s self and the rest of nature. CWN sits on a continuum comprising information about nature and experience in nature but is differentiated as a more holistic process for realizing transformative outcomes that serve oneself and their community. Various instruments are available to measure the CWN construct, although their cross-cultural transferability is unclear. Multiple benefits of CWN linked to physical and psychological well-being have been identified and CWN is distinct in that it supports happiness and more purposeful, fulfilling, and meaningful lives. CWN has been found as a reliable predictor and motivation for environmentally responsible behavior (ERB). CWN may benefit conservation discourse by providing: a more compelling language; hope and buffering frustration in the face of environmental crises; a more enduring motivation for ERB; and an accepted avenue for tackling ‘fuzzy’ concepts often avoided in conservation. Bolstered by interdisciplinary collaborations and action-oriented education, CWN presents itself as a radical but necessary prerequisite for realizing desired conservation and environmental behavior outcomes.

Pub.: 23 Sep '14, Pinned: 28 Aug '17

A Question of Attire: Dressing Up Bacteriophage Therapy for the Battle Against Antibiotic-Resistant Intracellular Bacteria

Abstract: Abstract More and more bacteria are developing severe antibiotic resistance. Among them are important intracellular pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Alternatives to classical antibiotics are urgently needed and bacteriophage therapy is a promising candidate for alternative or supplemental treatment. Until now, bacteriophages have been thought to be non-suitable for therapy against intracellular pathogens. Still, a few studies have been carried out to assess the efficacy of bacteriophage therapy against intracellular pathogens both in vitro and in vivo, with variable results. Recently, some successful studies have been conducted, in which bacteriophages were carried into infected cells by different bacterial vectors and killed intracellular pathogens. In this review, we aim to recapitulate the existing literature on bacteriophage therapy of intracellular pathogens and discuss possible ways of bacteriophage entry into infected cells, including different Trojan horse strategies and the question of whether free bacteriophages are able to enter mammalian cells. Finally, we sum up attempts of bacteriophage microencapsulation and speculate about the advantages of artificial vectorization for efficient and targeted intracellular delivery.AbstractMore and more bacteria are developing severe antibiotic resistance. Among them are important intracellular pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Alternatives to classical antibiotics are urgently needed and bacteriophage therapy is a promising candidate for alternative or supplemental treatment. Until now, bacteriophages have been thought to be non-suitable for therapy against intracellular pathogens. Still, a few studies have been carried out to assess the efficacy of bacteriophage therapy against intracellular pathogens both in vitro and in vivo, with variable results. Recently, some successful studies have been conducted, in which bacteriophages were carried into infected cells by different bacterial vectors and killed intracellular pathogens. In this review, we aim to recapitulate the existing literature on bacteriophage therapy of intracellular pathogens and discuss possible ways of bacteriophage entry into infected cells, including different Trojan horse strategies and the question of whether free bacteriophages are able to enter mammalian cells. Finally, we sum up attempts of bacteriophage microencapsulation and speculate about the advantages of artificial vectorization for efficient and targeted intracellular delivery.Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Pub.: 03 Dec '14, Pinned: 28 Aug '17

Freshwater Invertebrate Life History Strategies for Surviving Desiccation

Abstract: Abstract In many regions, climate change is prolonging dry periods in rivers and wetlands, exposing freshwater invertebrates to increased periods of desiccation. Invertebrates show a range of strategies for surviving desiccation, but the effects of the degree of exposure to desiccation on the expression of particular traits is unknown. This review synthesizes existing information on the desiccation responses of freshwater invertebrates to examine the flexibility of these survival strategies and the relationship between strategies and the degree of desiccation to which individuals are exposed. It focuses on desiccation at the small spatial scales experienced by individuals and clarifies the terminology of resting stages present during desiccation. We provide a key to terminology used for different forms of dormancy, so that appropriate terms may be used. All invertebrate groups showed a range of strategies for surviving desiccation. Sometimes, different traits were expressed among different populations of a species; however, it is unclear how many species show multiple desiccation response strategies. Many crustacean taxa showed physiological dormancy responses to desiccation that enabled survival for long periods (years). Insects often rely on emigration from drying waterbodies as flying adults or on larvae occupying damp refuges on the benthos. Altered water regimes may alter the phenology of desiccation responses, potentially increasing local extinctions, even in species capable of prolonged dormancy because of constraints on life cycles. However, there is limited empirical evidence demonstrating the flexibility of, or limitations to, expression of these survival strategies and their potential fitness costs. AbstractIn many regions, climate change is prolonging dry periods in rivers and wetlands, exposing freshwater invertebrates to increased periods of desiccation. Invertebrates show a range of strategies for surviving desiccation, but the effects of the degree of exposure to desiccation on the expression of particular traits is unknown. This review synthesizes existing information on the desiccation responses of freshwater invertebrates to examine the flexibility of these survival strategies and the relationship between strategies and the degree of desiccation to which individuals are exposed. It focuses on desiccation at the small spatial scales experienced by individuals and clarifies the terminology of resting stages present during desiccation. We provide a key to terminology used for different forms of dormancy, so that appropriate terms may be used. All invertebrate groups showed a range of strategies for surviving desiccation. Sometimes, different traits were expressed among different populations of a species; however, it is unclear how many species show multiple desiccation response strategies. Many crustacean taxa showed physiological dormancy responses to desiccation that enabled survival for long periods (years). Insects often rely on emigration from drying waterbodies as flying adults or on larvae occupying damp refuges on the benthos. Altered water regimes may alter the phenology of desiccation responses, potentially increasing local extinctions, even in species capable of prolonged dormancy because of constraints on life cycles. However, there is limited empirical evidence demonstrating the flexibility of, or limitations to, expression of these survival strategies and their potential fitness costs.

Pub.: 01 May '15, Pinned: 28 Aug '17

Production Animal Diseases: The Diagnostic Utility of Colostrum

Abstract: Abstract Effective biosecurity at farm, state, national and international levels to prevent and control the spread of important production animal diseases, is essential to minimise the risk of disease outbreaks. Assurance is crucial with regard to the disease status of a population of animals in a growing global livestock market. Assurance is achieved by using testing methods that have a high sensitivity and specificity, i.e. the ability to detect infected and non-infected animals and groups of animals, and ideally are cost effective. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is such a test, being highly versatile, inexpensive and easy to perform. For some production animal diseases, current ELISAs demonstrate poor sensitivity, i.e. detect a lower proportion of infected animals. This poor detection rate may permit the maintenance of infection within livestock populations, posing risks to all levels of biosecurity. Due to the higher concentrations of immunoglobulins (Igs) present in colostrum when compared to serum, colostrum should be able to improve the detection of some important infectious diseases of production animals, improving the assurance of absence of disease. This review presents the underpinning physiological basis of Ig transfer into colostrum, indicates the relative Ig concentrations in serum and colostrum and describes how ELISAs work. Although not the focus of this review, different parameters that can be used for the assessment of diagnostic utility are presented. Targeted production animal diseases investigated in this PhD study are described, and the outcomes of the research into the diagnostic utility of colostrum using vaccinated animals as models of disease, as well as a field study of Johne’s disease are presented. Overall, the premise of this PhD study regarding higher antibody concentrations in colostrum was valid, as the diagnostic sensitivities of the ELISAs were improved when using colostrum compared to serum, while also maintaining diagnostic specificity.AbstractEffective biosecurity at farm, state, national and international levels to prevent and control the spread of important production animal diseases, is essential to minimise the risk of disease outbreaks. Assurance is crucial with regard to the disease status of a population of animals in a growing global livestock market. Assurance is achieved by using testing methods that have a high sensitivity and specificity, i.e. the ability to detect infected and non-infected animals and groups of animals, and ideally are cost effective. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is such a test, being highly versatile, inexpensive and easy to perform. For some production animal diseases, current ELISAs demonstrate poor sensitivity, i.e. detect a lower proportion of infected animals. This poor detection rate may permit the maintenance of infection within livestock populations, posing risks to all levels of biosecurity. Due to the higher concentrations of immunoglobulins (Igs) present in colostrum when compared to serum, colostrum should be able to improve the detection of some important infectious diseases of production animals, improving the assurance of absence of disease. This review presents the underpinning physiological basis of Ig transfer into colostrum, indicates the relative Ig concentrations in serum and colostrum and describes how ELISAs work. Although not the focus of this review, different parameters that can be used for the assessment of diagnostic utility are presented. Targeted production animal diseases investigated in this PhD study are described, and the outcomes of the research into the diagnostic utility of colostrum using vaccinated animals as models of disease, as well as a field study of Johne’s disease are presented. Overall, the premise of this PhD study regarding higher antibody concentrations in colostrum was valid, as the diagnostic sensitivities of the ELISAs were improved when using colostrum compared to serum, while also maintaining diagnostic specificity.

Pub.: 30 Nov '15, Pinned: 28 Aug '17

Asymmetry in Reptiles: What Do We Know So Far?

Abstract: Abstract Developmental disturbances in organisms may lead to subtle deviations from symmetry. Fluctuating asymmetry is the most commonly used measure of developmental instability, and it may be related to fitness. Knowledge of developmental instability in reptiles is incipient and with important gaps since there are few studies on asymmetry on this group. In this review, we quantified and analysed trends of reptiles’ asymmetry in the literature. We used keyword searches at Web of Science and Scopus to identify the available papers on asymmetry in reptiles published until 2012. After screening, 60 papers encompassing asymmetry investigations in reptiles were identified. The number of publications increased in the last two decades and lizards were the most studied group. There were no studies from South America and very few from Africa. Most studies involved the use of only meristic traits for asymmetry analysis and found evidence for fluctuating asymmetry. Some studies did not support the relationship between fluctuating asymmetry as the result of developmental instability and environmental and genetic stress, but most findings indicated that (a) females tend to select males with symmetrical sexual traits; (b) thermal instability during egg development produce individuals with a higher incidence of asymmetry; (c) occurrence of injuries is more frequent in asymmetrical individuals for a particular side; (d) there is a negative correlation between asymmetry and locomotor performance. A summary of the available information and a brief discussion about some asymmetric relationships are presented.AbstractDevelopmental disturbances in organisms may lead to subtle deviations from symmetry. Fluctuating asymmetry is the most commonly used measure of developmental instability, and it may be related to fitness. Knowledge of developmental instability in reptiles is incipient and with important gaps since there are few studies on asymmetry on this group. In this review, we quantified and analysed trends of reptiles’ asymmetry in the literature. We used keyword searches at Web of Science and Scopus to identify the available papers on asymmetry in reptiles published until 2012. After screening, 60 papers encompassing asymmetry investigations in reptiles were identified. The number of publications increased in the last two decades and lizards were the most studied group. There were no studies from South America and very few from Africa. Most studies involved the use of only meristic traits for asymmetry analysis and found evidence for fluctuating asymmetry. Some studies did not support the relationship between fluctuating asymmetry as the result of developmental instability and environmental and genetic stress, but most findings indicated that (a) females tend to select males with symmetrical sexual traits; (b) thermal instability during egg development produce individuals with a higher incidence of asymmetry; (c) occurrence of injuries is more frequent in asymmetrical individuals for a particular side; (d) there is a negative correlation between asymmetry and locomotor performance. A summary of the available information and a brief discussion about some asymmetric relationships are presented.

Pub.: 07 Jan '15, Pinned: 28 Aug '17

The Role of Calmodulin and Related Proteins in Plant Cell Function: An Ever-Thickening Plot

Abstract: Abstract Stimuli-induced fluctuations in intracellular free calcium (Ca2+) serve as secondary messenger signals that regulate diverse biochemical processes in eukaryotic cells, such as developmental transitions and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Stimuli-specific Ca2+ signals are manifested as spatially and temporally defined differential Ca2+ signatures that are sensed, decoded, and transduced to elicit distal responses via an array of Ca2+ binding proteins (CBPs) that function as intracellular Ca2+ sensors. Calmodulin (CaM), the most important eukaryotic CBP, senses and responds to fluctuations in intracellular Ca2+ levels by binding to this ubiquitous second messenger, and transducing given Ca2+ signatures that differentially activate distal effector (target) proteins regulating a broad range of biochemical responses. Ca2+/CaM targets include an increasing number of proteins whose functions continue to be elucidated. Hundreds of reports have highlighted the importance of CaM, and other CBPs, in the transduction of Ca2+-mediated signals involved in transcriptional regulation, protein phosphorylation/dephosphorylation, and metabolic shifts. Other Ca2+-binding proteins are known to play significant functional roles in plant cells as well. This review is primarily focused on the role of CaM in some key plant processes, and discusses recent advances in understanding the pivotal role of CaM in an ever-increasing number of plant cell functions and biochemical responses. We also discuss recent work highlighting the emerging importance of CaM in nuclear and organellar signaling.AbstractStimuli-induced fluctuations in intracellular free calcium (Ca2+) serve as secondary messenger signals that regulate diverse biochemical processes in eukaryotic cells, such as developmental transitions and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Stimuli-specific Ca2+ signals are manifested as spatially and temporally defined differential Ca2+ signatures that are sensed, decoded, and transduced to elicit distal responses via an array of Ca2+ binding proteins (CBPs) that function as intracellular Ca2+ sensors. Calmodulin (CaM), the most important eukaryotic CBP, senses and responds to fluctuations in intracellular Ca2+ levels by binding to this ubiquitous second messenger, and transducing given Ca2+ signatures that differentially activate distal effector (target) proteins regulating a broad range of biochemical responses. Ca2+/CaM targets include an increasing number of proteins whose functions continue to be elucidated. Hundreds of reports have highlighted the importance of CaM, and other CBPs, in the transduction of Ca2+-mediated signals involved in transcriptional regulation, protein phosphorylation/dephosphorylation, and metabolic shifts. Other Ca2+-binding proteins are known to play significant functional roles in plant cells as well. This review is primarily focused on the role of CaM in some key plant processes, and discusses recent advances in understanding the pivotal role of CaM in an ever-increasing number of plant cell functions and biochemical responses. We also discuss recent work highlighting the emerging importance of CaM in nuclear and organellar signaling.2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+

Pub.: 01 Dec '14, Pinned: 28 Aug '17

Ventilation and Locomotion in Humans: Mechanisms, Implications, and Perturbations to the Coupling of These Two Rhythms

Abstract: Abstract To best sustain endurance activity, two systems must be effectively coordinated: ventilation and locomotion. Evidence has long suggested that these two mammalian rhythms are linked, yet determinants and implications of locomotor–respiratory coupling (LRC) continue to be investigated. Two general areas explaining the potential mechanisms underlying LRC are (1) neural interactions between central and peripheral controllers of locomotion and respiration, and (2) mechanical interactions between locomotor dynamics and respiratory mechanics. Additional suggested explanations for/consequence of the existence of LRC in mammals include an improved energetic cost of locomotion and a reduced sensation of breathlessness. As such, any perturbation to LRC, via alterations in breathing or kinematic patterns, could have negative performance implications to both athlete and patient populations.Abstract To best sustain endurance activity, two systems must be effectively coordinated: ventilation and locomotion. Evidence has long suggested that these two mammalian rhythms are linked, yet determinants and implications of locomotor–respiratory coupling (LRC) continue to be investigated. Two general areas explaining the potential mechanisms underlying LRC are (1) neural interactions between central and peripheral controllers of locomotion and respiration, and (2) mechanical interactions between locomotor dynamics and respiratory mechanics. Additional suggested explanations for/consequence of the existence of LRC in mammals include an improved energetic cost of locomotion and a reduced sensation of breathlessness. As such, any perturbation to LRC, via alterations in breathing or kinematic patterns, could have negative performance implications to both athlete and patient populations.

Pub.: 02 Aug '14, Pinned: 28 Aug '17

Molecular Pathology Signatures in Predicting Malignant Potentiality of Dysplastic Oral Pre-cancers

Abstract: Abstract The role of dysplastic oral pre-cancers in oral squamous cell carcinoma development is well recognized, but the notion is not exclusive. Diagnostic gold standards in predicting malignant potentiality of such pre-cancers suffer from ambiguity due to inter- and intra-observer variability. In addressing such diagnostic challenges, combinatorial appraisement of molecular pathology attributes encompassing cancer hallmarks is thought to provide a wider analytical sense. Two major premalignant disorders, viz. oral leukoplakia and oral submucous fibrosis have been considered as candidate precursors of cancer here. This review highlights the molecular pathology signatures expressed in oral epithelial dysplasia and revisits the usefulness of combinatorial analysis of expressional pattern of existing molecular biomarkers in the context of proper selection of cardinal attributes from each cancer hallmark for better malignant potentiality assessment.AbstractThe role of dysplastic oral pre-cancers in oral squamous cell carcinoma development is well recognized, but the notion is not exclusive. Diagnostic gold standards in predicting malignant potentiality of such pre-cancers suffer from ambiguity due to inter- and intra-observer variability. In addressing such diagnostic challenges, combinatorial appraisement of molecular pathology attributes encompassing cancer hallmarks is thought to provide a wider analytical sense. Two major premalignant disorders, viz. oral leukoplakia and oral submucous fibrosis have been considered as candidate precursors of cancer here. This review highlights the molecular pathology signatures expressed in oral epithelial dysplasia and revisits the usefulness of combinatorial analysis of expressional pattern of existing molecular biomarkers in the context of proper selection of cardinal attributes from each cancer hallmark for better malignant potentiality assessment.

Pub.: 13 Oct '15, Pinned: 28 Aug '17

Characterisation of the Interfacial Adhesion of the Different Components in Wood–Plastic Composites with AFM

Abstract: Abstract The search for innovative solutions for the reuse of solid residues has intensified with growing environmental issues and the increasing cost of most raw materials, leading to the design of eco-friendly composite materials, such as wood–plastic composites (WPCs). These materials combine the stability of wood fibres with the durability of plastic, allowing for a wide range of applications, whilst simultaneously offering the possibility of utilising waste products from the forest/wood industry and recycled plastic. Waste products that otherwise incur cost for disposal therefore become a sustainable material resource for new products. Natural fibres offer a number of advantages over synthetic fibres and are seen as a “green” alternative to other reinforcements. Commonly, the fibre-matrix adhesion in WPCs is improved by using compatibilisers that bond to the polar wood fibres and the non-polar polymer matrix. However, the problem with these is that good dispersion is not always achieved as it depends on the adhesion properties of three individual components in the WPC, which might lead to poor mechanical properties of the WPC. The ability of the atomic force microscope (AFM) to create 3D images of topography and various interaction forces with molecular resolution made it a valuable tool for the analysis of adhesion properties in WPCs.Abstract The search for innovative solutions for the reuse of solid residues has intensified with growing environmental issues and the increasing cost of most raw materials, leading to the design of eco-friendly composite materials, such as wood–plastic composites (WPCs). These materials combine the stability of wood fibres with the durability of plastic, allowing for a wide range of applications, whilst simultaneously offering the possibility of utilising waste products from the forest/wood industry and recycled plastic. Waste products that otherwise incur cost for disposal therefore become a sustainable material resource for new products. Natural fibres offer a number of advantages over synthetic fibres and are seen as a “green” alternative to other reinforcements. Commonly, the fibre-matrix adhesion in WPCs is improved by using compatibilisers that bond to the polar wood fibres and the non-polar polymer matrix. However, the problem with these is that good dispersion is not always achieved as it depends on the adhesion properties of three individual components in the WPC, which might lead to poor mechanical properties of the WPC. The ability of the atomic force microscope (AFM) to create 3D images of topography and various interaction forces with molecular resolution made it a valuable tool for the analysis of adhesion properties in WPCs.

Pub.: 10 Jul '15, Pinned: 28 Aug '17

Genomic Selection, a New Era for Pork Quality Improvement

Abstract: Abstract Traditional breeding approaches apply sophisticated statistical tools such as best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP) to evaluate the genetic potential of animals for economically important traits using phenotype and pedigree information observed on the animal. However, the genetic gain achieved is relatively slow for traits with low-to-moderate heritability, or expensive to measure traits, such as those determined post-mortem e.g., pork quality. Nowadays, the availability of dense panels of DNA markers covering the whole genome along with powerful statistical tools has made genomic selection (GS) feasible in pigs. The large number of single nucleotide polymorphisms generated by high-throughput technologies can be used in GS to select superior animals with better meat quality. Many quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting meat quality traits have been detected in pigs demonstrating the potential for this improvement. Genomic selection uses genome-wide markers so that all QTL are likely to be in linkage disequilibrium with at least one marker. Genomic selection sums the effects of markers covering the whole genome so that potentially all the genetic variance associated with the traits and explained by the markers are considered. This can greatly improve selection accuracy to accelerate genetic gain for pork quality traits. In this review, we discuss the genetic component underlying pork quality variation, statistical approaches for pork quality genomic prediction, and present recent highlights for their application in swine breeding programs. Firstly, we review how pork quality is integrated into breeding objectives. Secondly, we present approaches for application of molecular genetics in meat quality improvement. Additionally, we discuss the statistical methods for genomic prediction including ridge regression, Bayesian approaches, GBLUP, and combining genomic and traditional information using single-step BLUP. Finally, we review the strategies for their use in swine genetic improvement and management. In particular, we review the strategy for implementing GS in swine breeding programs to improve pork quality.AbstractTraditional breeding approaches apply sophisticated statistical tools such as best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP) to evaluate the genetic potential of animals for economically important traits using phenotype and pedigree information observed on the animal. However, the genetic gain achieved is relatively slow for traits with low-to-moderate heritability, or expensive to measure traits, such as those determined post-mortem e.g., pork quality. Nowadays, the availability of dense panels of DNA markers covering the whole genome along with powerful statistical tools has made genomic selection (GS) feasible in pigs. The large number of single nucleotide polymorphisms generated by high-throughput technologies can be used in GS to select superior animals with better meat quality. Many quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting meat quality traits have been detected in pigs demonstrating the potential for this improvement. Genomic selection uses genome-wide markers so that all QTL are likely to be in linkage disequilibrium with at least one marker. Genomic selection sums the effects of markers covering the whole genome so that potentially all the genetic variance associated with the traits and explained by the markers are considered. This can greatly improve selection accuracy to accelerate genetic gain for pork quality traits. In this review, we discuss the genetic component underlying pork quality variation, statistical approaches for pork quality genomic prediction, and present recent highlights for their application in swine breeding programs. Firstly, we review how pork quality is integrated into breeding objectives. Secondly, we present approaches for application of molecular genetics in meat quality improvement. Additionally, we discuss the statistical methods for genomic prediction including ridge regression, Bayesian approaches, GBLUP, and combining genomic and traditional information using single-step BLUP. Finally, we review the strategies for their use in swine genetic improvement and management. In particular, we review the strategy for implementing GS in swine breeding programs to improve pork quality.

Pub.: 11 Apr '15, Pinned: 28 Aug '17

A Systematic Review of the Benefits and Costs of Bird and Insect Activity in Agroecosystems

Abstract: Abstract Wild fauna occur in every agroecosystem and their interactions with crops can influence yields positively or negatively. Research on the impact of fauna activity on agricultural production focuses mostly on either the costs (e.g. crop damage) or benefits (e.g. pollination) of this activity, with few studies addressing cost–benefit trade-offs in the same context. This has resulted in an incomplete understanding of the implications of fauna activity in agroecosystems. Through a systematic review of the literature, we connect disparate studies to promote a more holistic approach to research on wild fauna in agriculture. We identified 281 studies that quantified a cost and/or benefit of fauna activity in crop systems. Overall, 53.0 % of studies examined the costs of insect and/or bird activity, 37.7 % of studies examined benefits and just 9.3 % of studies covered both costs and benefits of insect and/or bird activity simultaneously. Most birds studied were omnivorous (44.8 %), granivorous (29.0 %) or insectivorous (16.6 %), while insect studies focused on pollinators (42.2 %) or borers (17.5 %). There were clear geographic patterns for studies, with a bias towards studies of the costs of bird activity in North America and studies of benefits in Central America/Caribbean. Most studies on benefits occurred in perennial crops and most cost studies in annual crops. Our results highlight the disjointed nature of research into the cost–benefit trade-offs of fauna activity, and it is essential that future studies examine these trade-offs in order to develop sustainable agricultural strategies that limit production losses while maximising the delivery of ecosystem services from fauna.AbstractWild fauna occur in every agroecosystem and their interactions with crops can influence yields positively or negatively. Research on the impact of fauna activity on agricultural production focuses mostly on either the costs (e.g. crop damage) or benefits (e.g. pollination) of this activity, with few studies addressing cost–benefit trade-offs in the same context. This has resulted in an incomplete understanding of the implications of fauna activity in agroecosystems. Through a systematic review of the literature, we connect disparate studies to promote a more holistic approach to research on wild fauna in agriculture. We identified 281 studies that quantified a cost and/or benefit of fauna activity in crop systems. Overall, 53.0 % of studies examined the costs of insect and/or bird activity, 37.7 % of studies examined benefits and just 9.3 % of studies covered both costs and benefits of insect and/or bird activity simultaneously. Most birds studied were omnivorous (44.8 %), granivorous (29.0 %) or insectivorous (16.6 %), while insect studies focused on pollinators (42.2 %) or borers (17.5 %). There were clear geographic patterns for studies, with a bias towards studies of the costs of bird activity in North America and studies of benefits in Central America/Caribbean. Most studies on benefits occurred in perennial crops and most cost studies in annual crops. Our results highlight the disjointed nature of research into the cost–benefit trade-offs of fauna activity, and it is essential that future studies examine these trade-offs in order to develop sustainable agricultural strategies that limit production losses while maximising the delivery of ecosystem services from fauna.

Pub.: 01 Dec '15, Pinned: 28 Aug '17