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Concept: China


Phytoliths and biomolecular components extracted from ancient plant remains from Chang'an (Xi'an, the city where the Silk Road begins) and Ngari (Ali) in western Tibet, China, show that the tea was grown 2100 years ago to cater for the drinking habits of the Western Han Dynasty (207BCE-9CE), and then carried toward central Asia by ca.200CE, several hundred years earlier than previously recorded. The earliest physical evidence of tea from both the Chang'an and Ngari regions suggests that a branch of the Silk Road across the Tibetan Plateau, was established by the second to third century CE.

Concepts: China, People's Republic of China, Han Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, Central Asia, Xi'an, Silk Road, Chang'an


China is one of the most diverse countries, which have developed 88 indigenous pig breeds. Several studies showed that pigs were independently domesticated in multiple regions of the world. The purpose of this study was to investigate the origin and evolution of Chinese pigs using complete mitochondrial genomic sequences (mtDNA) from Asian and European domestic pigs and wild boars. Thirty primer pairs were designed to determine the mtDNA sequences of Xiang pig, Large White, Lantang, Jinhua and Pietrain. The phylogenetic status of Chinese native pigs was investigated by comparing the mtDNA sequences of complete coding regions and D-loop regions respectively amongst Asian breeds, European breeds and wild boars. The analyzed results by two cluster methods contributed to the same conclusion that all pigs were classified into two major groups, European clade and Asian clade. It revealed that Chinese pigs were only recently diverged from each other and distinctly different from European pigs. Berkshire was clustered with Asian pigs and Chinese pigs were involved in the development of Berkshire breeding. The Malaysian wild boar had distant genetic relationship with European and Asian pigs. Jinhua and Lanyu pigs had more nucleotide diversity with Chinese pigs although they all belonged to the Asian major clade. Chinese domestic pigs were clustered with wild boars in Yangtze River region and South China.

Concepts: DNA, China, Pig, Wild boar, Domestic pig, Suidae, Pork, Razorback


Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. (PMT), officially listed in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, is one of the most popular perennial Chinese traditional medicines known as He shou wu in China and East Asia, and as Fo-ti in North America. Mounting pharmacological studies have stressed out its key benefice for the treatment of various diseases and medical conditions such as liver injury, cancer, diabetes, alopecia, atherosclerosis, and neurodegenerative diseases as well. International databases such as PubMed/Medline, Science citation Index and Google Scholar were searched for clinical studies recently published on P. multiflorum. Various clinical studies published articles were retrieved, providing information relevant to pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamics analysis, sleep disorders, dyslipidemia treatment, and neurodegenerative diseases. This review is an effort to update the clinical picture of investigations ever carried on PMT and/or its isolated bio-compounds and to enlighten its therapeutic assessment.

Concepts: Medicine, The Canon of Medicine, China, East Asia, Chinese language, Polygonum multiflorum, Polygonum, Shou Wu Chih


The Developmental Eye Movement (DEM) test is commonly used as a clinical visual-verbal ocular motor assessment tool to screen and diagnose reading problems at the onset. No established norm exists for using the DEM test with Mandarin Chinese-speaking Chinese children. This study aims to establish the normative values of the DEM test for the Mandarin Chinese-speaking population in China; it also aims to compare the values with three other published norms for English-, Spanish-, and Cantonese-speaking Chinese children. A random stratified sampling method was used to recruit children from eight kindergartens and eight primary schools in the main urban and suburban areas of Nanjing. A total of 1,425 Mandarin Chinese-speaking children aged 5 to 12 years took the DEM test in Mandarin Chinese. A digital recorder was used to record the process. All of the subjects completed a symptomatology survey, and their DEM scores were determined by a trained tester. The scores were computed using the formula in the DEM manual, except that the “vertical scores” were adjusted by taking the vertical errors into consideration. The results were compared with the three other published norms. In our subjects, a general decrease with age was observed for the four eye movement indexes: vertical score, adjusted horizontal score, ratio, and total error. For both the vertical and adjusted horizontal scores, the Mandarin Chinese-speaking children completed the tests much more quickly than the norms for English- and Spanish-speaking children. However, the same group completed the test slightly more slowly than the norms for Cantonese-speaking children. The differences in the means were significant (P<0.001) in all age groups. For several ages, the scores obtained in this study were significantly different from the reported scores of Cantonese-speaking Chinese children (P<0.005). Compared with English-speaking children, only the vertical score of the 6-year-old group, the vertical-horizontal time ratio of the 8-year-old group and the errors of 9-year-old group had no significant difference (P>0.05); compared with Spanish-speaking children, the scores were statistically significant (P<0.001) for the total error scores of the age groups, except the 6-, 9-, 10-, and 11-year-old age groups (P>0.05). DEM norms may be affected by differences in language, cultural, and educational systems among various ethnicities. The norms of the DEM test are proposed for use with Mandarin Chinese-speaking children in Nanjing and will be proposed for children throughout China.

Concepts: Statistical significance, China, People's Republic of China, English language, Chinese language, Stratified sampling, Standard Mandarin, Mandarin Chinese


Ventricular septal defects (VSD) are the most common subtype of congenital heart defects (CHD) and are estimated to account for 20 to 30% of all cases of CHD. The etiology of isolated VSD remains poorly understood. Eight core aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARSs) (EPRS, MARS, QARS, RARS, IARS, LARS, KARS, and DARS) combine with three nonenzymatic components to form a complex known as the multisynthetase complex (MSC). Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in EPRS have been reported to be associated with risks of CHD in Chinese populations.

Concepts: DNA, China, Han Chinese, People's Republic of China, Overseas Chinese, Ventricular septal defect, Qing Dynasty, World population


Nations are accumulating cyber resources in the form of stockpiles of zero-day exploits as well as other novel methods of engaging in future cyber conflict against selected targets. This paper analyzes the optimal timing for the use of such cyber resources. A simple mathematical model is offered to clarify how the timing of such a choice can depend on the stakes involved in the present situation, as well as the characteristics of the resource for exploitation. The model deals with the question of when the resource should be used given that its use today may well prevent it from being available for use later. The analysis provides concepts, theory, applications, and distinctions to promote the understanding strategy aspects of cyber conflict. Case studies include the Stuxnet attack on Iran’s nuclear program, the Iranian cyber attack on the energy firm Saudi Aramco, the persistent cyber espionage carried out by the Chinese military, and an analogous case of economic coercion by China in a dispute with Japan. The effects of the rapidly expanding market for zero-day exploits are also analyzed. The goal of the paper is to promote the understanding of this domain of cyber conflict to mitigate the harm it can do, and harness the capabilities it can provide.

Concepts: Economics, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Cyberspace, Saudi Aramco, Cyber spying, Nuclear program of Iran


China’s historiographical traditions tell of the successful control of a Great Flood leading to the establishment of the Xia dynasty and the beginning of civilization. However, the historicity of the flood and Xia remain controversial. Here, we reconstruct an earthquake-induced landslide dam outburst flood on the Yellow River about 1920 BCE that ranks as one of the largest freshwater floods of the Holocene and could account for the Great Flood. This would place the beginning of Xia at ~1900 BCE, several centuries later than traditionally thought. This date coincides with the major transition from the Neolithic to Bronze Age in the Yellow River valley and supports hypotheses that the primary state-level society of the Erlitou culture is an archaeological manifestation of the Xia dynasty.

Concepts: China, Neolithic, Yellow River, Flood, Bronze Age, Xia Dynasty, Erlitou culture, Deluge


The collapse of some pre-historical and historical cultures, including Chinese dynasties were presumably linked to widespread droughts, on the basis of synchronicities of societal crises and proxy-based climate events. Here, we present a comparison of ancient inscriptions in Dayu Cave from Qinling Mountains, central China, which described accurate times and detailed impacts of seven drought events during the period of 1520-1920 CE, with high-resolution speleothem records from the same cave. The comparable results provide unique and robust tests on relationships among speleothem δ(18)O changes, drought events, and societal unrest. With direct historical evidences, our results suggest that droughts and even modest events interrupting otherwise wet intervals can cause serious social crises. Modeling results of speleothem δ(18)O series suggest that future precipitation in central China may be below the average of the past 500 years. As Qinling Mountain is the main recharge area of two large water transfer projects and habitats of many endangered species, it is imperative to explore an adaptive strategy for the decline in precipitation and/or drought events.

Concepts: Precipitation, Climate, China, Endangered species, Meteorology, Giant Panda, Adaptation, Drought


Few studies have explored age and sex differences in the disease burden of influenza, although men and women probably differ in their susceptibility to influenza infections. In this study, quasi-Poisson regression models were applied to weekly age- and sex-specific hospitalization numbers of pneumonia and influenza cases in the Hong Kong SAR, People’s Republic of China, from 2004 to 2010. Age and sex differences were assessed by age- and sex-specific rates of excess hospitalization for influenza A subtypes A(H1N1), A(H3N2), and A(H1N1)pdm09 and influenza B, respectively. We found that, in children younger than 18 years, boys had a higher excess hospitalization rate than girls, with the male-to-female ratio of excess rate (MFR) ranging from 1.1 to 2.4. MFRs of hospitalization associated with different types/subtypes were less than 1.0 for adults younger than 40 years except for A(H3N2) (MFR = 1.6), while all the MFRs were equal to or higher than 1.0 in adults aged 40 years or more except for A(H1N1)pdm09 in elderly persons aged 65 years or more (MFR = 0.9). No MFR was found to be statistically significant (P < 0.05) for hospitalizations associated with influenza type/subtype. There is some limited evidence on age and sex differences in hospitalization associated with influenza in the subtropical city of Hong Kong.

Concepts: Influenza, China, Severe acute respiratory syndrome, People's Republic of China, Chinese language, Hong Kong, Standard Mandarin, Economy of the People's Republic of China


Background Lithium has been a first-line choice for maintenance treatment of bipolar disorders to prevent relapse of mania and depression, but many patients do not have a response to lithium treatment. Methods We selected subgroups from a sample of 1761 patients of Han Chinese descent with bipolar I disorder who were recruited by the Taiwan Bipolar Consortium. We assessed their response to lithium treatment using the Alda scale and performed a genomewide association study on samples from one subgroup of 294 patients with bipolar I disorder who were receiving lithium treatment. We then tested the single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that showed the strongest association with a response to lithium for association in a replication sample of 100 patients and tested them further in a follow-up sample of 24 patients. We sequenced the exons, exon-intron boundaries, and part of the promoter of the gene encoding glutamate decarboxylase-like protein 1 (GADL1) in 94 patients who had a response to lithium and in 94 patients who did not have a response in the genomewide association sample. Results Two SNPs in high linkage disequilibrium, rs17026688 and rs17026651, that are located in the introns of GADL1 showed the strongest associations in the genomewide association study (P=5.50×10(-37) and P=2.52×10(-37), respectively) and in the replication sample of 100 patients (P=9.19×10(-15) for each SNP). These two SNPs had a sensitivity of 93% for predicting a response to lithium and differentiated between patients with a good response and those with a poor response in the follow-up cohort. Resequencing of GADL1 revealed a novel variant, IVS8+48delG, which lies in intron 8 of the gene, is in complete linkage disequilibrium with rs17026688 and is predicted to affect splicing. Conclusions Genetic variations in GADL1 are associated with the response to lithium maintenance treatment for bipolar I disorder in patients of Han Chinese descent. (Funded by Academia Sinica and others.).

Concepts: DNA, Gene, China, Han Chinese, Bipolar disorder, Overseas Chinese, Lithium pharmacology, Bipolar I disorder