The origin and evolution of new microRNAs (miRNAs) is important because they can impact the transcriptome broadly. As miRNAs can potentially emerge constantly and rapidly, their rates of birth and evolution have been extensively debated. However, most new miRNAs identified appear not to be biologically significant. After an extensive search, we identified 12 new miRNAs that emerged de novo in Drosophila melanogaster in the last 4 million years (Myrs) and have been evolving adaptively. Unexpectedly, even though they are adaptively evolving at birth, more than 94% of such new miRNAs disappear over time. They provide selective advantages, but only for a transient evolutionary period. After 30 Myrs, all surviving miRNAs make the transition from the adaptive phase of rapid evolution to the conservative phase of slow evolution, apparently becoming integrated into the transcriptional network. During this transition, the expression shifts from being tissue-specific, predominantly in testes and larval brain/gonads/imaginal discs, to a broader distribution in many other tissues. Interestingly, a measurable fraction (20–30%) of these conservatively evolving miRNAs experience “evolutionary rejuvenation” and begin to evolve rapidly again. These rejuvenated miRNAs then start another cycle of adaptive – conservative evolution. In conclusion, the selective advantages driving evolution of miRNAs are themselves evolving, and sometimes changing direction, which highlights the regulatory roles of miRNAs.
During Metazoan evolution, the architecture of the genome changed dramatically in size, gene number and regulatory elements. Genomic architecture is often assumed to be correlated with morphological complexity. However, it is still not known whether the gene repertoire, both for protein coding and non-coding genes, is continually increasing. In the last decade, a large family of small non-coding RNAs, or microRNAs (miRNAs), has been shown to play an important role in diverse developmental processes. The genes controlled by miRNAs often evolve rapidly, potentially contributing to functional novelty, diversity and speciation. Here we estimated the birth and death rate of new adaptive miRNAs in Drosophila melanogaster. We found most new adaptive miRNAs disappear over long periods of time; hence, the miRNA repertoire stays close to that of a steady state. This steady state is commensurate with the morphological constancy of the genus of Drosophila.
Objective. Untrained bystanders usually delivered suboptimal chest compression to victims who suffered from cardiac arrest in out-of-hospital settings. We therefore investigated the hemodynamics and resuscitation outcome of initial suboptimal quality of chest compressions compared to the optimal ones in a porcine model of cardiac arrest. Methods. Fourteen Yorkshire pigs weighted 30 ± 2 kg were randomized into good and poor cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) groups. Ventricular fibrillation was electrically induced and untreated for 6 mins. In good CPR group, animals received high quality manual chest compressions according to the Guidelines (25% of animal's anterior-posterior thoracic diameter) during first two minutes of CPR compared with poor (70% of the optimal depth) compressions. After that, a 120-J biphasic shock was delivered. If the animal did not acquire return of spontaneous circulation, another 2 mins of CPR and shock followed. Four minutes later, both groups received optimal CPR until total 10 mins of CPR has been finished. Results. All seven animals in good CPR group were resuscitated compared with only two in poor CPR group (P < 0.05). The delayed optimal compressions which followed 4 mins of suboptimal compressions failed to increase the lower coronary perfusion pressure of five non-survival animals in poor CPR group.
Conclusions. In a porcine model of prolonged cardiac arrest, even four minutes of initial poor quality of CPR compromises the hemodynamics and survival outcome.
An open radical surgery for lung cancer of the right upper lobe is performed under suitable conditions in this case. According to the actual conditions, the horizontal fissure is made a “tunnel” dissociation during the operation to fully expose hilar structures (artery, vein, and bronchus). Since intraoperative frozen section diagnosis shows malignant result, lymph nodes are dissected. Hemostasis, protection of the important peripheral organs and standard postoperative placement of drainage tube should be noted. The observability of this surgery is the clear exposure and brief operation.
Open resection; lung cancer; right upper lobe
Tens of millions of base pairs of euchromatic human genome sequence, including many protein-coding genes, have no known location in the human genome. We describe an approach for localizing the human genome's missing pieces by utilizing the patterns of genome sequence variation created by population admixture. We mapped the locations of 70 scaffolds spanning four million base pairs of the human genome's unplaced euchromatic sequence, including more than a dozen protein-coding genes, and identified eight large novel inter-chromosomal segmental duplications. We find that most of these sequences are hidden in the genome's heterochromatin, particularly its pericentromeric regions. Many cryptic, pericentromeric genes are expressed in RNA and have been maintained intact for millions of years while their expression patterns diverged from those of paralogous genes elsewhere in the genome. We describe how knowledge of the locations of these sequences can inform disease association and genome biology studies.
The electronic structures and excitation properties of dye sensitizers determine the photon-to-current conversion efficiency of dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). In order to understand the different performance of porphyrin dye sensitizers YD2 and YD2-o-C8 in DSSC, their geometries and electronic structures have been studied using density functional theory (DFT), and the electronic absorption properties have been investigated via time-dependent DFT (TDDFT) with polarizable continuum model for solvent effects. The geometrical parameters indicate that YD2 and YD2-o-C8 have similar conjugate length and charge transfer (CT) distance. According to the experimental spectra, the HSE06 functional in TDDFT is the most suitable functional for describing the Q and B absorption bands of porphyrins. The transition configurations and molecular orbital analysis suggest that the diarylamino groups are major chromophores for effective CT excitations (ECTE), and therefore act as electron donor in photon-induced electron injection in DSSCs. The analysis of excited states properties and the free energy changes for electron injection support that the better performance of YD2-o-C8 in DSSCs result from the more excited states with ECTE character and the larger absolute value of free energy change for electron injection.
porphyrin dye sensitizers; excited states; electronic structures; density functional theory; absorption spectra
Mucus clearance is the primary defense mechanism that protects airways from inhaled infectious and toxic agents. In the current Gel-on-Liquid mucus clearance model mucus gel is propelled on top of a “watery” periciliary layer surrounding the cilia. However, this model fails to explain the formation of distinct mucus layer in health or why mucus clearance fails in disease. We propose a Gel-on-Brush model in which the periciliary layer is occupied by membrane spanning mucins and mucopolysaccharides densely tethered to the airway surface. This brush prevents mucus penetration into the periciliary space and causes mucus to form a distinct layer. The relative osmotic moduli of the mucus and periciliary brush layers explain both the stability of mucus clearance in health and its failure in airway disease.
The C-terminal peptides of ubiquitin (UB) and UB-like proteins (UBLs) play a key role in their recognition by the specific activating enzymes (E1s) to launch their transfer through the respective enzymatic cascades thus modifying cellular proteins. UB and Nedd8, a UBL regulating the activity of cullin-RING UB ligases, only differ by one residue at their C-termini; yet each has its specific E1 for the activation reaction. It has been reported recently that UAE can cross react with Nedd8 to enable its passage through the UB transfer cascade for protein neddylation. To elucidate differences in UB recognition by UAE and NAE, we carried out phage selection of a UB library with randomized C-terminal sequences based on the catalytic formation of UB∼NAE thioester conjugates. Our results confirmed the previous finding that residue 72 of UB plays a “gate-keeping” role in E1 selectivity. We also found that diverse sequences flanking residue 72 at the UB C-terminus can be accommodated by NAE for activation. Furthermore heptameric peptides derived from the C-terminal sequences of UB variants selected for NAE activation can function as mimics of Nedd8 to form thioester conjugates with NAE and the downstream E2 enzyme Ubc12 in the Nedd8 transfer cascade. Once the peptides are charged onto the cascade enzymes, the full-length Nedd8 protein is effectively blocked from passing through the cascade for the critical modification of cullin. We have thus identified a new class of inhibitors of protein neddylation based on the profiles of the UB C-terminal sequences recognized by NAE.
Motivation: Eugene Myers in his string graph paper suggested that in a string graph or equivalently a unitig graph, any path spells a valid assembly. As a string/unitig graph also encodes every valid assembly of reads, such a graph, provided that it can be constructed correctly, is in fact a lossless representation of reads. In principle, every analysis based on whole-genome shotgun sequencing (WGS) data, such as SNP and insertion/deletion (INDEL) calling, can also be achieved with unitigs.
Results: To explore the feasibility of using de novo assembly in the context of resequencing, we developed a de novo assembler, fermi, that assembles Illumina short reads into unitigs while preserving most of information of the input reads. SNPs and INDELs can be called by mapping the unitigs against a reference genome. By applying the method on 35-fold human resequencing data, we showed that in comparison to the standard pipeline, our approach yields similar accuracy for SNP calling and better results for INDEL calling. It has higher sensitivity than other de novo assembly based methods for variant calling. Our work suggests that variant calling with de novo assembly can be a beneficial complement to the standard variant calling pipeline for whole-genome resequencing. In the methodological aspects, we propose FMD-index for forward–backward extension of DNA sequences, a fast algorithm for finding all super-maximal exact matches and one-pass construction of unitigs from an FMD-index.
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasing worldwide and creating a significant burden on health systems, highlighting the need for the development of innovative therapeutic approaches to overcome immune dysfunction, which is likely a key factor in the development of insulin resistance in T2D. It suggests that immune modulation may be a useful tool in treating the disease.
In an open-label, phase 1/phase 2 study, patients (N = 36) with long-standing T2D were divided into three groups (Group A, oral medications, n = 18; Group B, oral medications + insulin injections, n = 11; Group C having impaired β-cell function with oral medications + insulin injections, n = 7). All patients received one treatment with the Stem Cell Educator therapy in which a patient’s blood is circulated through a closed-loop system that separates mononuclear cells from the whole blood, briefly co-cultures them with adherent cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells (CB-SCs), and returns the educated autologous cells to the patient’s circulation.
Clinical findings indicate that T2D patients achieve improved metabolic control and reduced inflammation markers after receiving Stem Cell Educator therapy. Median glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) in Group A and B was significantly reduced from 8.61% ± 1.12 at baseline to 7.25% ± 0.58 at 12 weeks (P = 2.62E-06), and 7.33% ± 1.02 at one year post-treatment (P = 0.0002). Homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) demonstrated that insulin sensitivity was improved post-treatment. Notably, the islet beta-cell function in Group C subjects was markedly recovered, as demonstrated by the restoration of C-peptide levels. Mechanistic studies revealed that Stem Cell Educator therapy reverses immune dysfunctions through immune modulation on monocytes and balancing Th1/Th2/Th3 cytokine production.
Clinical data from the current phase 1/phase 2 study demonstrate that Stem Cell Educator therapy is a safe approach that produces lasting improvement in metabolic control for individuals with moderate or severe T2D who receive a single treatment. In addition, this approach does not appear to have the safety and ethical concerns associated with conventional stem cell-based approaches.
ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01415726
Objective: To explore the possible relationship between six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs6311 and rs6305 of 5-HT2A, rs5443 of Gβ3, rs2230739 of ACDY9, rs1549870 of PDE1A and rs255163 of CREB1, which are all related with 5-HT2A the signal transduction pathway) and the response efficacy to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) treatments in major depressive disorder (MDD) Chinese. Methods: This study included 194 depressed patients to investigate the influence of 6 polymorphisms in 5-HT2A signal transduction-related genes on the efficacy of SSRIs assessed over 1 year. The efficacies of SSRIs on 194 MDD patients were evaluated in an 8-week open-trial study. Over 1 year, a follow-up study was completed for 174 of them to observe the long-term efficacy of SSRIs. The optimal-scaling regression analysis was used for testing the relationship between the different genotypes of five SNPs and the efficacy in MDD. Results: It showed that the patients with rs5443TT and rs2230739GG have a relatively good efficacy in response to short-term SSRIs. We also found that good efficacy appeared in depressed patients with rs2230739GG in response to long-term SSRIs. Conclusions: It suggested that different genotypes of rs5443 and rs2230739 might influence the signal transduction pathways of second message and affect therapeutic efficacy.
The acquisition of metastasis potential is a critical point for malignant tumors. Melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24) is a potential tumor suppress gene and frequently down-regulated in malignant tumors. It has been implicated that overexpression of MDA-7 led to proliferation inhibition in many types of human tumor. Invasion is an important process which is potential to promote tumor metastasis. However, the role and potential molecular mechanism of mda-7/IL-24 to inhibit the invasion of human melanoma cancer is not fully clear. In this report, we identified a solid role for mda-7/IL-24 in invasion inhibition of human melanoma cancer LiBr cells, including decreasing of adhesion and invasion in vitro, blocking cell cycle, down-regulating the expression of ICAM-1, MMP-2/9, CDK1, the phosphorylation of ERK and Akt, NF-κB and AP-1 transcription activity. Meanwhile, there was an increased expression of PTEN in mda-7/IL-24 over-expression LiBr cells. Our results demonstrated that mda-7/IL-24 is a potential invasion suppress gene, which inhibits the invasion of LiBr cells by the down-regulation of ICAM-1, MMP-2/9, PTEN, and CDK1 expression. The molecular pathways involved were the MAPK/ERK, PI3K-Akt, NF-κB, and AP-1. These findings suggest that mda-7/IL-24 may be used as a possible therapeutic strategy for human melanoma cancer.
Melanoma; mda-7; Invasion
Here, the recombinant ARE-binding region of HuR (residues 18–186) was crystallized in space group P21212, with unit-cell parameters a = 41.2, b = 133.1, c = 31.4 Å.
Human antigen R (HuR), a ubiquitously expressed member of the Hu protein family, is an important post-transcriptional regulator which has three RNA-recognition motif (RRM) domains. The two tandem N-terminal RRM domains can selectively bind to the AU-rich element (ARE), while the third one interacts with the poly(A) tail and other proteins. Here, the recombinant ARE-binding region of HuR (residues 18–186) was crystallized in space group P21212, with unit-cell parameters a = 41.2, b = 133.1, c = 31.4 Å. X-ray diffraction data were collected to a resolution of 2.8 Å. Mutagenesis analysis and SPR assays revealed its poly(U)-binding properties.
human antigen R; RNA-recognition motif domains; poly(U) binding; post-transcriptional regulation
We present a DNA library preparation method that has allowed us to reconstruct a high coverage (30X) genome sequence of a Denisovan, an extinct relative of Neandertals. The quality of this genome allows a direct estimation of Denisovan heterozygosity indicating that genetic diversity in these archaic hominins was extremely low. It also allows tentative dating of the specimen on the basis of “missing evolution” in its genome, detailed measurements of Denisovan and Neandertal admixture into present-day human populations, and the generation of a near-complete catalog of genetic changes that swept to high frequency in modern humans since their divergence from Denisovans.
Mutations are the raw material of evolution, but have been difficult to study directly. We report the largest study of new mutations to date: 2,058 germline changes discovered by analyzing 85,289 Icelanders at 2,477 microsatellites. The paternal-to-maternal mutation rate ratio is 3.3, and the rate in fathers doubles from age 20 to 58 whereas there is no association with age in mothers. Longer microsatellite alleles are more mutagenic and tend to decrease in length, whereas the opposite is seen for shorter alleles. We use these empirical observations to build a model that we apply to individuals for whom we have both genome sequence and microsatellite data, allowing us to estimate key parameters of evolution without calibration to the fossil record. We infer that the sequence mutation rate is 1.4–2.3×10−8 per base pair per generation (90% credible interval), and that human-chimpanzee speciation occurred 3.7–6.6 million years ago.
The aim of this study was to evaluate pharmacological properties of ethanol extracted from Mahonia oiwakensis Hayata stems (MOSEtOH). The pharmacological properties included antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective effects. The protoberberine alkaloid content of the MOSEtOH was analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The results revealed that three alkaloids, berberine, palmatine and jatrorrhizine, could be identified. Moreover, the MOSEtOH exhibited antioxidative activity using the DPPH assay (IC50, 0.743 mg/mL). The DPPH radical scavenging activity of MOSEtOH was five times higher that that of vitamin C. MOSEtOH was also found to inhibit pain induced by acetic acid, formalin, and carrageenan inflammation. Treatment with MOSEtOH (100 and 500 mg/kg) or silymarin (200 mg/kg) decreased the serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels compared with the CCl4-treated group. Histological evaluation showed that MOSEtOH reduced the degree of liver injury, including vacuolization, inflammation and necrosis of hepatocytes. The anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective effect of MOSEtOH were found to be related to the modulation of antioxidant enzyme activity in the liver and decreases in malondialdehyde (MDA) level and nitric oxide (NO) contents. Our findings suggest that MOSEtOH has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective effects. These effects support the use of MOSEtOH for relieving pain and inflammation in folk medicine.
Mahonia oiwakensis Hayata; high-performance liquid chromatography; hepatoprotective effect; malondialdehyde
Using uterine explants from Per1::Luc rats and in situ hybridization, we recently reported that the circadian property of the molecular clock in the uterus and placenta is stably maintained from non-pregnancy, right through to the end stage of pregnancy under regular light-dark (LD) cycles. Despite long-lasting increases in progesterone during gestation and an increase in estrogen before delivery, the uterus keeps a stable Per1::Luc rhythm throughout the pregnancy. The study suggests the importance of stable circadian environments for fetuses to achieve sound physiology and intrauterine development. This idea is also supported by epidemiological and animal studies, in which pregnant females exposed to repeated shifting of the LD cycles have increased rates of reproductive abnormalities and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Leading from this, we introduced artificial circadian environments with controlled lighting conditions to human preterm infants by developing and utilizing a specific light filter which takes advantage of the unique characteristics of infants’ developing visual photoreceptors. In spite of growing evidence of the physiological benefits of nighttime exposure to darkness for infant development, many Japanese Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) still prefer to maintain constant light in preparation for any possible emergencies concerning infants in incubators. To protect infants from the negative effects of constant light on their development in the NICU, we have developed a new device similar to a magic mirror, by which preterm infants can be shielded from exposure to their visible wavelengths of light even in the constant light conditions of the NICU while simultaneously allowing medical care staff to visually monitor preterm infants adequately. The device leads to significantly increased infant activity during daytime than during night time and better weight gains.
designing artificial environments; preterm infants; circadian clocks; pregnant uterus; lighting conditions
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have proven a powerful method to identify common genetic variants contributing to susceptibility to common diseases. Here we show that extremely low-coverage sequencing (0.1–0.5x) captures almost as much of the common (>5%) and low-frequency (1–5%) variation across the genome as SNP arrays. As an empirical demonstration, we show that genome-wide SNP genotypes can be inferred at a mean r2 of 0.71 using off-target data (0.24x average coverage) in a whole-exome study of 909 samples. Using both simulated and real exome sequencing datasets we show that association statistics obtained using ultra low-coverage sequencing data attain similar P-values at known associated variants as genotyping arrays, without an excess of false positives. Within the context of reductions in sample preparation and sequencing costs, funds invested in ultra low-coverage sequencing can yield several times the effective sample size of SNP-array GWAS, and a commensurate increase in statistical power.
Nitrilase is an important member of the nitrilase superfamiliy. It has attracted substantial interest from academia and industry for its function of converting nitriles directly into the corresponding carboxylic acids in recent years. Thus nitrilase has played a crucial role in production of commercial carboxylic acids in chemical industry and detoxification of nitrile-contaminated wastes. However, conventional studies mainly focused on the bacterial nitrilase and the potential of fungal nitrilase has been far from being fully explored. Research on fungal nitrilase gene expression will advance our understanding for its biological function of fungal nitrilase in nitrile hydrolysis.
A fungal nitrilase gene from Gibberella intermedia was cloned through reverse transcription-PCR. The open reading frame consisted of 963 bp and potentially encoded a protein of 320 amino acid residues with a theoretical molecular mass of 35.94 kDa. Furthermore, the catalytic triad (Glu-45, Lys-127, and Cys-162) was proposed and confirmed by site-directed mutagenesis. The encoding gene was expressed in Escherichia coli Rosetta-gami (DE3) and the recombinant protein with His6-tag was purified to electrophoretic homogeneity. The purified enzyme exhibited optimal activity at 45°C and pH 7.8. This nitrilase was specific towards aliphatic and aromatic nitriles. The kinetic parameters Vmax and Km for 3-cyanopyridine were determined to be 0.81 µmol/min·mg and 12.11 mM through Hanes-Woolf plot, respectively. 3-Cyanopyridine (100 mM) could be thoroughly hydrolyzed into nicotinic acid within 10 min using the recombinant strain with the release of about 3% nicotinamide and no substrate was detected.
In the present study, a fungal nitrilase was cloned from the cDNA sequence of G. intermedia and successfully expressed in E. coli Rosetta-gami (DE3). The recombinant strain displayed good 3-cyanopyridine degradation efficiency and wide substrate spectrum. This fungal nitrilase might be a potential candidate for industrial applications in carboxylic acids production.
Motivation: Most existing methods for DNA sequence analysis rely on accurate sequences or genotypes. However, in applications of the next-generation sequencing (NGS), accurate genotypes may not be easily obtained (e.g. multi-sample low-coverage sequencing or somatic mutation discovery). These applications press for the development of new methods for analyzing sequence data with uncertainty.
Results: We present a statistical framework for calling SNPs, discovering somatic mutations, inferring population genetical parameters and performing association tests directly based on sequencing data without explicit genotyping or linkage-based imputation. On real data, we demonstrate that our method achieves comparable accuracy to alternative methods for estimating site allele count, for inferring allele frequency spectrum and for association mapping. We also highlight the necessity of using symmetric datasets for finding somatic mutations and confirm that for discovering rare events, mismapping is frequently the leading source of errors.
Over the past decades, nitrilases have drawn considerable attention because of their application in nitrile degradation as prominent biocatalysts. Nitrilases are derived from bacteria, filamentous fungi, yeasts, and plants. In-depth investigations on their natural sources function mechanisms, enzyme structure, screening pathways, and biocatalytic properties have been conducted. Moreover, the immobilization, purification, gene cloning and modifications of nitrilase have been dwelt upon. Some nitrilases are used commercially as biofactories for carboxylic acids production, waste treatment, and surface modification. This critical review summarizes the current status of nitrilase research, and discusses a number of challenges and significant attempts in its further development. Nitrilase is a significant and promising biocatalyst for catalytic applications.
Biocatalysis; Bioremediation; Carboxylic acid; Gene expression; Immobilization; Nitrilase; Nitrile; Purification; Strain screening; Surface modification
We use scaling theory to derive the time dependence of the mean-square displacement 〈Δr2〉 of a spherical probe particle of size d experiencing thermal motion in polymer solutions and melts. Particles with size smaller than solution correlation length ξ undergo ordinary diffusion (〈Δr2 (t)〉 ~ t) with diffusion coefficient similar to that in pure solvent. The motion of particles of intermediate size (ξ < d < a), where a is the tube diameter for entangled polymer liquids, is sub-diffusive (〈Δr2 (t)〉 ~ t1/2) at short time scales since their motion is affected by sub-sections of polymer chains. At long time scales the motion of these particles is diffusive and their diffusion coefficient is determined by the effective viscosity of a polymer liquid with chains of size comparable to the particle diameter d. The motion of particles larger than the tube diameter a at time scales shorter than the relaxation time τe of an entanglement strand is similar to the motion of particles of intermediate size. At longer time scales (t > τe) large particles (d > a) are trapped by entanglement mesh and to move further they have to wait for the surrounding polymer chains to relax at the reptation time scale τrep. At longer times t > τrep, the motion of such large particles (d > a) is diffusive with diffusion coefficient determined by the bulk viscosity of the entangled polymer liquids. Our predictions are in agreement with the results of experiments and computer simulations.
Comparisons of DNA sequences between Neandertals and present-day humans have shown that Neandertals share more genetic variants with non-Africans than with Africans. This could be due to interbreeding between Neandertals and modern humans when the two groups met subsequent to the emergence of modern humans outside Africa. However, it could also be due to population structure that antedates the origin of Neandertal ancestors in Africa. We measure the extent of linkage disequilibrium (LD) in the genomes of present-day Europeans and find that the last gene flow from Neandertals (or their relatives) into Europeans likely occurred 37,000–86,000 years before the present (BP), and most likely 47,000–65,000 years ago. This supports the recent interbreeding hypothesis and suggests that interbreeding may have occurred when modern humans carrying Upper Paleolithic technologies encountered Neandertals as they expanded out of Africa.
One of the key discoveries from the analysis of the Neandertal genome is that Neandertals share more genetic variants with non-Africans than with Africans. This observation is consistent with two hypotheses: interbreeding between Neandertals and modern humans after modern humans emerged out of Africa or population structure in the ancestors of Neandertals and modern humans. These hypotheses make different predictions about the date of last gene exchange between the ancestors of Neandertals and modern non-Africans. We estimate this date by measuring the extent of linkage disequilibrium (LD) in the genomes of present-day Europeans and find that the last gene flow from Neandertals into Europeans likely occurred 37,000–86,000 years before the present (BP), and most likely 47,000–65,000 years ago. This supports the recent interbreeding hypothesis and suggests that interbreeding occurred when modern humans carrying Upper Paleolithic technologies encountered Neandertals as they expanded out of Africa.
Excess body weight measured as body mass index (BMI) has a positive association with risk of common cancers. However, previous meta-analyses related to BMI and liver cancer had inconsistent results. The purpose of the current study is to establish a nonlinear dose-response relationship between BMI and incidence risk of liver cancer.
A systematic literature search for relevant articles published from 1966 to November 2011 was conducted in PUBMED and EMBASE digital databases. Additional articles were manually searched by using the reference lists of identified papers. Restricted cubic splines and generalized least-squares regression methods were used to model a potential curvilinear relationship and to make a dose-response meta-analysis. Stratified analysis, sensitivity analysis and assessment of bias were performed in our meta-analysis.
8 articles including 1,779,471 cohort individuals were brought into meta-analysis. A non-linear dose-response association between BMI and risk of liver cancer was visually significant (P for nonlinearity<0.001), besides, the point value of BMI also enhanced the results quantitatively, where relative risks were 1.02 (95%CI = 1.02–1.03), 1.35 (95%CI = 1.24–1.47) and 2.22-fold (95%CI = 1.74–2.83) when BMI was at the point of 25, 30 and 35 kg/m2 compared with reference (the median value of the lowest category), respectively. The ethnicity of the population was found as the main source of heterogeneity. In subsequent stratified analysis, no evidence of heterogeneity was showed in Asian and White populations (P for heterogeneity>0.1), and all value of BMI still presented significantly increased risk of cancer.
The findings from meta-analysis provided that excess BMI had significant increased association with risk of liver cancer, although the biological mechanisms underlying the obesity-cancer link still need to be clarified.