REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201808.0494.v2
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Neuroscience Keywords: panic disorder; animal experimentation; defensive behavior (Animal); escape behavior (animal)
Online: 22 April 2019 (11:50:13 CEST)
Panic disorder (PD) is characterized by recurrent and uncontrollable panic attacks associated with behavioral changes and/or persistent anxiety due to the attacks. The development of behavioral models in animals is important for the understanding of the psychobiological and behavioral bases of PD. The present article reviews the main models used in the current literature. Biobehavioral assays used in rats and mice include fear conditioning (which presents moderate predictive, face, and construct validities); the elevated T-maze (which presents good predictive validity, but low face and construct validities); electrical stimulation of the periaqueductal gray (which presents good face validity, but moderate construct validity); predator exposure models (which present good predictive and moderate construct validity); and hypercapnia-induced responses (which present moderate construct validity). These three approaches seek coherence with theories on fear as a way to increase its translational potential; thus, while the elevated T-maze is supported by the Deakin/Graeff theory, the mouse defense test battery relies on the concept of defensive distance, and periaqueductal gray stimulation is based on the functional neuroanatomy of fear. Moreover, to higher or lower degree the three models are supported by an “etho-experimental” approach, with careful observation of animal behavior as a way of discriminating different defensive strategies that model different aspects of anxiety, fear, and panic. These assays can be used, in conjunction with independent variables that attempt to simulate the vulnerabilities and stressors which lead to panic attacks, to produce true models of PD. Finally, an alternative/complementary model is proposed that uses zebrafish alarm reaction to study this disorder.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201912.0242.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Oncology & Oncogenics Keywords: animal-assisted interventions; animal-assisted activities; animal-assisted therapy; oncology; cancer; human-animal bond; quantitative
Online: 19 December 2019 (06:41:38 CET)
Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) use human-animal interactions to positive effect in various contexts including cancer care. This systematic literature review is the first part of a two-part paper series focusing on the research methods and quantitative results of AAI studies in oncology. We find methodological consistency in the use of canines as therapy animals, in the types of high-risk patients excluded from studies, and in the infection precautions taken with therapy animals throughout cancer wards. The investigated patient endpoints are not significantly affected by AAI, with the exceptions of improvements in oxygen consumption, quality of life, depression, mood, and satisfaction with therapy. The AAI field in oncology has progressed significantly since its inception and has great potential to positively impact future patient outcomes. To advance the field, AAI research in oncology should consistently improve the methodological design of studies, report data more completely, and focus on the therapy animal’s well-being.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201912.0243.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Oncology & Oncogenics Keywords: animal-assisted interventions; animal-assisted activities; animal-assisted therapy; oncology; cancer; human-animal bond; mechanisms; theoretical frameworks
Online: 19 December 2019 (06:45:23 CET)
Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) are a unique class of complementary medical treatments that can improve a patient’s quality of life, both physically and psychologically. Part I of this two-paper systematic literature review series focused on the study methods and quantitative results of researchers in this field. We continue this in-depth review here in Part II by discussing the common theories associated with AAI in the context of cancer. Of all the factors at work in human-animal interactions, researchers explicitly cite compatible animal personality, physical touch, physical movement, distraction/entertainment, and increased human interaction as the mechanisms responsible for the positive clinical outcomes observed in AAI. In various combinations, these mechanisms group under broader theoretical frameworks that attempt to fully explain the AAI context as it relates to cancer care. The social support hypothesis and the conception of a human-animal bond are the most referenced overarching frameworks. The cognitive activation theory of stress, the science of unitary human beings, and the self-object hypothesis are also referenced. We briefly consider other relevant theories commonly noted in the human-animal interactions literature that have the potential to clarify aspects of cancer-related AAI. We also discuss the neurobiological transduction mechanisms needed to connect theoretical frameworks and their mechanisms directly to the observed clinical outcomes. To advance the field, researchers should consider overarching theories with testable hypotheses when designing studies, and use consistent terminology when reporting results. This review lays a foundation for progress towards a unified theoretical framework and for effective treatment of the whole cancer patient.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0074.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Neuroscience Keywords: animal emotions; animal welfare; sensors; animal-based measures; affective states; emotion modelling
Online: 4 February 2022 (12:20:22 CET)
Emotions or affective states recognition in farm animals is an underexplored research domain. Despite significant advances in the animal welfare research, the animal affective computing through the development and application of devices and platforms that can not only recognize but interpret and process the emotions, are in nascent stage. By capitalizing on the immense potential of biometric sensors, the artificial intelligence enabled big data methods substantially offers advancement of animal welfare standards and meet the urgent need of caretakers to respond effectively to maintain the wellbeing of their animals. Farm animals, numbering over 70 billion worldwide, are increasingly managed in large-scale, intensive farms. With both public awareness and scientific evidence growing that farm animals experience suffering, as well as affective states such as fear, frustration and distress, there is an urgent need to develop efficient and accurate methods for monitoring their welfare. At present, there are no scientifically validated ‘benchmarks’ for quantifying transient emotional (affective) states in farm animals, and no established measures of good welfare, only indicators of poor welfare, such as injury, pain and fear. Conventional approaches to monitoring livestock welfare are time consuming, interrupt farming processes and involve subjective judgments. Biometric sensors data enabled by Artificial Intelligence are an emerging smart solution to unobtrusively monitoring livestock, but their potential for quantifying affective states and groundbreaking solutions in their application are yet to be realized. This review provides innovative methods for collecting big data on farm animal emotions, which can be used to train artificial intelligence models to classify, quantify and predict affective states in individual pigs and cows. Extending this to the group level, social network analysis can be applied to model emotional dynamics and contagion among animals. Finally, ‘digital twins’ of animals capable of simulating and predicting their affective states and be-havior in real time are a near-term possibility.
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: animal suffering; animal welfare; fires; wild animals
Online: 28 August 2020 (08:50:40 CEST)
Animals living in the wild are exposed to numerous challenges, such as fires, that can lead to animal suffering. The impacts of fire have been studied in different branches of ecology, but studies of its effects on the welfare of individual animals remain scarce. The current review aims to synthesize a sample of relevant aspects regarding fire’s negative effects on wild animals. This review provides a better understanding of how fire compromises animal welfare, providing an example of how to use the knowledge gathered in ecology studies to examine the welfare of wild animals. It can help raise concern for the situation of wild animals as individuals, and to develop the field of welfare biology, by identifying promising future lines of research. The fundamentals of carrying out future work to design protocols for rescuing animals or preventing the harms they can suffer in fires is also explored.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0196.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: crocodilian; animal welfare; animal-based measure; animal-based indicator; welfare assessment; welfare measure
Online: 10 November 2021 (08:46:54 CET)
Animal-based measures are the measure of choice in animal welfare assessment protocols as they can often be applied completely independently to the housing or production system employed. Although there has been a small body of work on potential animal-based measures for farmed crocodilians [1-3], they have not been studied in the context of an animal welfare assessment protocol. Potential animal-based measures, that could be used to reflect the welfare state of farmed crocodilians, were identified and aligned with the Welfare Quality® principles of good housing, good health, good feeding and appropriate behaviour. A consultation process with a panel of experts was used to evaluate and score the potential measures in terms of validity and feasibility. This resulted in a toolbox of measures being identified for further development and integration into animal welfare assessment on the farm. Animal-based measures related to ‘good feeding’ and ‘good health’ received the highest scores for validity and feasibility by the experts. There was less agreement on the animal-based measures that could be used to reflect ‘appropriate behaviour’. Where no animal-based measures were deemed to reliably reflect a welfare criterion nor be useful as a measure on the farm, additional measures of resources or management were suggested as alternatives. Future work in this area should focus on the reliability of the proposed measures and involve further evaluation of their validity and feasibility as they relate to different species of crocodilian and farming system.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0368.v1
Subject: Keywords: Precision Livestock Farming; Sensors; Animal Ethics; Animal Welfare; Society; Sustainability; Human-animal relationships
Online: 16 July 2021 (11:27:24 CEST)
The demand for animal products is expected to continue to rise, which requires the development of efficient livestock farming systems. Environmental, societal and economic concerns regarding this industry are however accumulating, addressing the large resource demand, pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions and health concerns that the livestock industry is responsible for. Precision livestock farming systems allow the continuous automatic monitoring of various physiological, behavioural and phenotypic parameters of animals in order to increase productivity and animal welfare while controlling and minimizing the environmental impact. There is a high potential for digital farming to be the solution for responsibly and ethically feeding the growing and urbanizing population. However, many problems and concerns are still present in this developing industry and remain relatively unaddressed, starting with the ethical aspects in regard to the animal, including its objectification, human-animal relationships and welfare and ending with the societal implications of this digitalization. Concrete frameworks, inter-disciplinary studies and global legislation need to be put in place in order to ensure the safety and protection of the animals, farmer and society. Here, implications of digital farming for the animals, farmers, society and the planet are critically reviewed with the future outlook of digital farms.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202211.0280.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Other Keywords: animal welfare; animal training; applied animal behavior; behavior analysis; behavioral engineering; environmental enrichment; zoos
Online: 15 November 2022 (07:20:08 CET)
The field of applied behavior analysis has been directly involved in both research and applications of behavioral principles to improve the lives of captive zoo animals. Thirty years ago, Forthman and Ogden (1992) wrote one of the first papers documenting some of these efforts. Since that time, considerable work has been done using behavioral principles and procedures to guide zoo welfare efforts. The current paper re-examines and updates Forthman and Ogden’s original points, with attention to the five categories they detailed: (1) promotion of species-typical behavior, (2) reintroduction and repatriation of endangered species, (3) animal handling, (4) pest control, and (5) animal performances. In addition, we outline three current and future directions for behavior analytic endeavors: (i) experimental analyses of behavior and the zoo, (ii) applied behavior analysis and the zoo, and (iii) within-subject methodology and the zoo. The goal is to provide a framework that can guide future behavioral research in zoos, as well as create applications based on these empirical evaluations.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201706.0077.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Other Keywords: zoo; mobile zoo; mobile animal exhibits; animal display; mobile live animal programs; negative education
Online: 16 June 2017 (05:32:18 CEST)
This paper assesses whether there is intrinsic positive educational value in travelling animal presentations and exhibits, referred to here as Mobile Live Animal Programs (MLAPs). Given that educational claims serve as the basis for allowing MLAPs to operate in many jurisdictions throughout Canada and the United States, it is essential to examine whether these purported claims are valid. This study takes a twofold approach of examining first, what constitutes an MLAP and how such programs are situated within the larger context of animal observation and tourism, and second, what constitutes both positive and negative education, and how such learning can empirically be measured in these settings. This approach provokes the ethical question of whether or not MLAPs should be allowed to operate given the high price paid not only by the individual animals used, but also to our psychological, emotional, and intellectual relationship with other species when we use non-human animals for our own knowledge, pleasure or comfort. The paper concludes that we must consider that the pervasive problem of negative education, that using displaced captive wild animals as learning tools that highlights human control over them, their objectification and their exploitation, is not justified by the purported positive educational claims of MLAPs.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0738.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: animal representation; animal-based foods; marketing; eggs; hen welfare
Online: 31 July 2020 (08:19:40 CEST)
How a species is represented by marketers of animal-based products both reflects and shapes how consumers think about that animal. By examining the explicit statements, and implicit messages encoded in the imagery on supermarket egg boxes, this paper explores how hens are represented by whole egg retailers. Content analysis reveals two prominent messages purveyed through eggbox graphics, namely those pertaining to hen welfare and human health. The later disenfranchises hens from their products by focusing on the nutritional value of eggs, whereas the former reflects a public concern for the welfare of egg-laying hens. Although claims of improvements in welfare practices are undoubtedly exploited as marketing tools, they serve to raise awareness and drive competitors to adopt similar practices. Welfare claims are a direct response to public concerns about the plight of hens, and may positively influence industry welfare standards. However, idyllic depictions displayed on eggboxes also lull consumers into the belief that those eggs are an ethically sound food choice, regardless of the actual standard of living experienced by the hens.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0326.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Deepfake; Animal Welfare; Animal Emotions; Artificial Intelligence; Digital Farming; Animal Based Measures; Emotion Modeling; Livestock Health
Online: 14 July 2021 (11:49:38 CEST)
Deepfake technologies are known for the creation of forged celebrity pornography, face and voice swaps, and other fake media content. Despite the negative connotations the technology bears, the underlying machine learning algorithms have a huge potential that could be applied to not just digital media, but also to medicine, biology, affective science, and agriculture, just to name a few. Due to the ability to generate big datasets based on real data distributions, deepfake could also be used to positively impact non-human animals such as livestock. Generated data using Generative Adversarial Networks, one of the algorithms that deepfake is based on, could be used to train models to accurately identify and monitor animal health and emotions. Through data augmentation, using digital twins, and maybe even displaying digital conspecifics where social interactions are enhanced, deepfake technologies have the potential to increase animal health, emotionality, sociality, animal-human and animal-computer interactions and thereby animal welfare, productivity, and sustainability of the farming industry.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0109.v1
Online: 5 August 2020 (05:02:17 CEST)
With the increasing societal expectation that animals are afforded greater protection in emergencies, the legal process from entering a property to rescue a companion animal, through to how to dispose of such animals if they remain unclaimed has not been well examined in New Zealand. It is hypothesised that the legal framework for such response is flawed. In this study, each phase of animal disaster rescue is evaluated against four key statues that may apply in each phase, in that does any statute provide clear end to end provisions with clear legal authority to do so. The study found that all statutes evaluated contained flaws and that the current legal provisions are insufficient to provide clear authority for the sequential process of undertaking rescue of animals during emergencies. A major flaw was discovered in the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 a key statute, that provided for the seizure of property and animals but omitted a procedure for the disposal of such seized things leaving them all in legal limbo. It is recommended that animal disaster laws are updated to be more animal inclusive. The method also may be applicable to assist evaluating animal disaster management legal frameworks in other countries.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201912.0171.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Law Keywords: animal welfare legislation; animal cruelty; law enforcement; Australia; enforcement gap
Online: 12 December 2019 (10:07:56 CET)
Enforcement of animal welfare statutes are the primary protection given for the maintenance of animal welfare and prevention of cruelty. It is speculated that animal law enforcement in Australia has a number of weakness in the enforcement model. These weaknesses create a gap between the goals of animal law enforcement and the reality of the animal law justice system. This gap is defined as the ‘enforcement gap’. This paper identifies and investigates the causes of this gap. The hypothesized causes discussed are (1) the impact the public can have on reporting animal cruelty, (2) the reliance on charitable organizations as enforcement bodies, (3) the inconsistencies in animal welfare legislation, and (4) the role of the sentencing courts. Thus, the causes of the enforcement gap are multifactorial; derived from all stages of the enforcement process. Further research is needed to investigate the concepts raised in this paper. However, it is likely that a combination of structural change to enforcement agencies, legislative reform and public education is required to reduce the enforcement gap.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0027.v2
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: Zoo animal welfare; Five Domains; Validity; Animal-based; Resource-based; Scoring
Online: 22 December 2021 (11:59:32 CET)
Zoos are increasingly putting in place formalized animal welfare assessment programs to allow monitoring of welfare over time, as well as to aid in resource prioritization. These programs tend to rely on assessment tools that incorporate resource-based and observational animal- focused measures since it is rarely feasible to obtain measures of physiology in zoo-housed animals. A range of assessment tools are available which commonly have a basis in the Five Domains framework. A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted to bring together recent studies examining welfare assessment methods in zoo animals. A summary of these methods is provided with advantages and limitations of the approach es presented. We then highlight practical considerations with respect to implementation of these tools into practice, for example scoring schemes, weighting of criteria, and innate animal factors for consideration. It is concluded that would be value in standardizing guidelines for development of welfare assessment tools since zoo accreditation bodies rarely prescribe these. There is also a need to develop taxon or species- specific assessment tools to inform welfare management.
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Ebola virus; rhesus macaque; animal model; FDA Animal Rule; natural history
Online: 5 February 2021 (11:34:20 CET)
Ebola virus (EBOV) is a negative-sense RNA virus that can infect humans and nonhuman primates with severe health consequences. Development of countermeasures requires a thorough understanding of the interaction between host and pathogen, and the course of disease. The goal of this study was to further characterize EBOV disease in a uniformly lethal rhesus macaque model, in order to support development of a well-characterized model following rigorous quality standards. Rhesus macaques were intramuscularly exposed to EBOV and one group was euthanized at predetermined time points to characterize progression of disease. A second group was not scheduled for euthanasia in order to analyze survival, changes in physiology, clinical pathology, terminal pathology, and telemetry kinetics. On day 3, sporadic viremia was observed and pathological evidence was noted in lymph nodes. By day 5, viremia was detected in all EBOV exposed animals and pathological evidence was noted in the liver, spleen, and gastrointestinal tissues. These data support the notion that EBOV infection in rhesus macaques is a rapid systemic disease similar to infection in humans, under a compressed time scale. Biomarkers that correlated with disease progression at the earliest stages of infection were observed thereby identifying potential “trigger--to-treat” for use in therapeutic studies.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0078.v1
Online: 4 September 2020 (03:29:10 CEST)
Introduction: The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of animal therapy in alleviation of anxiety in pre-school children.Method: The study was carried out as a quasi-experimental study with pre-test and post-test design and control group. The study population consisted of 33 anxious 5-7years old children (participated in a welfare anxiety screening plan held by Counseling Center, Tehran-Iran) between 2018 and 2019. The participants took part in the study voluntarily.The subjects were randomly divided into experimental and control groups (10 in each group). The experimental group was exposed to 8 sessions of animal therapy. The research instrument was Spence Preschool Anxiety Scale (Parent Form) and the data were analyzed on SPSS 21 software.Results: The results showed that animal therapy had a significant effect on general anxiety score after adjusting for post-test scores (f= 32.49 and p= 0.001) with the effect equal to 0.70. In addition, the effect of animal therapy on anxiety of separation (f= 5.63, p= 0.03), generalized anxiety disorder (f= 8.56, p= 0.01), social phobia (f= 14.58, p= 0.002) and specific anxiety (f= 11.63, p= 0.005) was significant with effects equal to 0.30, 0.40, 0.53, and 0.47, respectively. The results also showed that the effect of animal therapy on obsession was not significant (p>0.05).Conclusion: Therefore, it can be concluded that Animal therapy is effective in alleviating anxiety in children.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201710.0099.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Other Keywords: ethology; anthrozoology; semiotics; animal sanctuaries; captivity; anthropization; animal ethics; non invasive observation
Online: 16 October 2017 (05:42:33 CEST)
The present essay illustrates the methodological and theoretical premises of an emerging research area carrying out both ethological and (bio)ethical implications: the ethology of the freed animal (EFA). Unlike existing ethological fields, EFA focuses neither on non human (NH) animals in natural conditions of freedom in their own environment, nor on NH animals kept in conditions of “captivity”. Rather, EFA consists of a comparative study of NH animals that are released from a condition of more or less abusive captivity and instead relocated in an environment more appropriate to their species-specific and individual characteristics and inclinations. Ideal places for this study are contexts like “Animal sanctuaries” and parks/reserves provided with a camp or station for researchers, where a previously-captive NH animal can be reintroduced in his/her natural habitat. Even though EFA exists already, as a de facto practice of the specialized and/or volunteer personnel running sanctuaries and parks, the field still lacks a recognizable scholarly paradigm, and it is yet to be acknowledged at institutional/academic level. By consequence, one important aim for creating a field like this lies in the establishment of an active interaction between the two parties involved (researchers and sanctuaries/parks operators).
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201710.0150.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: refinement; mouse welfare; mouse husbandry; mouse aggression; male mice; social organisation; group housing; single housing; animal husbandry; animal welfare; animal management
Online: 24 October 2017 (03:29:02 CEST)
It is widely recommended to group house male laboratory mice because they are ‘social animals’, but male mice do not naturally share territories and aggression can be a serious welfare problem. Even without aggression, not all animals within a group will be in a state of positive welfare. Rather, many male mice may be negatively affected by the stress of repeated social defeat and subordination, raising concerns about welfare and also research validity. However, individual housing may not be an appropriate solution, given the welfare implications associated with no social contact. An essential question is whether it is in the best welfare interests of male mice to be group- or singly-housed. This review explores the likely impacts, positive and negative, of both housing conditions, presents results of a survey of current practice and awareness of mouse behaviour, and includes recommendations for good practice and future research. We conclude that whether group- or single-housing is better (or less worse) in any situation is highly context-dependent according to several factors including strain, age, social position, life experiences, and housing and husbandry protocols. It is important to recognise this and evaluate what is preferable from animal welfare and ethical perspectives in each case.
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0057.v1
Online: 5 July 2022 (04:36:30 CEST)
Zoonoses are diseases transmitted from (vertebrate) animals to humans. Control and prevention of these diseases require an appropriate way to measure health for prudent and well-balanced decisions in public health. We propose a framework that aims to explore, understand and open up a conversation about the non-monetary value of animals through environmental and normative ethics. As an example of its application, participants can choose what they are willing to give in exchange for curing an animal in hypothetical scenarios selecting a human health condition to suffer, the amount of money, and lifetime as a tradeoff. We believe that considering animals beyond their monetary value in public health decisions will contribute to a more rigorous assessment of the burden of zoonotic diseases, among other health decisions. This method might help us complement the existing metrics in health, adding more comprehensive values for animal and human health for the “One Health” approach.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202206.0343.v1
Online: 27 June 2022 (03:18:28 CEST)
Adolescence represents a critical period for the programming of future adult behaviours. Neurogenesis is particularly active during adolescence, with increased number of granule cells and increased hippocampal volume both in animals and humans. Among the factors which can affect neurogenesis during adolescence, stress is considered a major one. Indeed, adolescence is known to be a particularly stressful period in life, with some adolescents suffering from mood disorders and anxiety. While there is increasing interest on the neurogenic changes occurring during the adolescent period, evidence is sparse. We conducted a systematic review summarising changes in hippocampal neurogenesis, neuroplasticity and hippocampal-dependent cognitive functions and behavioural outcomes in stress-induced adolescent animal models of depression, and investigating long-term stress effects on the same outcomes assessing the same animals in adulthood. Overall, the results show a significant reduction in hippocampal cell proliferation, and a concomitant increase in depressive-like behaviours in adolescent animals exposed to stress challenges, however reduction in the number of surviving neurons was accompanied by no changes in both cognition and behaviour. Studies also observed altered neuroplasticity, including a stress-induced decrease in markers of pre- and post-synaptic plasticity, dendritic spine length and density, and long-term potentiation. These changes in neuroplasticity were accompanied by cognitive impairments and depressive-like behaviours. Overall, some of the negative effects observed during adolescence, especially on cell proliferation, neuroplasticity, cognition and behaviour either persisted or worsened during adulthood. Interestingly, treatment during adolescence with antidepressants, glutamate receptor inhibitors, glucocorticoid antagonists, or a healthy diet consisting of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A, were able to reverse or prevent these detrimental effects. Future research should aim to investigate the translational impact of these preclinical findings, developing novel tools for the measurement of hippocampal neurogenesis directly in depressed adolescents, and subsequently assessing neurogenic changes in response to stress as well as pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201804.0152.v1
Online: 11 April 2018 (13:54:56 CEST)
Mycobacterium ulcerans is the causative agent of the Buruli ulcer, also known, in Australia, as Daintree ulcer or Bairnsdale ulcer. This destructive skin disease is characterized by extensive and painless necrosis of the skin and soft tissue with the formation of large ulcers, commonly on the leg or arm. To date, 33 countries with tropical, subtropical and temperate climates in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Western Pacific have reported cases of Buruli Ulcer. The disease is rarely fatal, although it may lead to permanent disability and/ or disfigurement if not treated appropriately or in time. It is the third most common mycobacterial infection in the world after tuberculosis and leprosy. The precise mode of transmission of M. ulcerans is yet to be elucidated. Nevertheless, it is possible that the mode of transmission varies with different geographical areas and epidemiological settings. The knowledge about the possible route of transmission and potential animal reservoir of M. ulcerans is poorly understood and still remains patchy. We conducted a systematic review with selected key words on PubMed and INFORMIT databases to aggregate available published data on animal reservoirs of M. ulcerans. After certain inclusion and exclusion criteria, a total of 17 studies were included in the review. A variety of animals, e.g rodents, shrews, possums (ringtail and brush tail), horses, dogs, alpacas, koalas and Indian flap-shelled turtles have been recorded as being infected with M. ulcerans around the world. The majority of studies included in this review identified animal reservoirs, either aquatic or terrestrial, as predisposing for the emergence and reemergence of M. ulcerans infection. Taken together, the selected studies in this systematic review and discussed so far, it is clear that exotic wildlife, aquatic animals and native mammals play a significant role as reservoirs for M. ulcerans.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201804.0132.v1
Subject: Engineering, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Keywords: bio-phosphate; ABC Animal-Bone-Char; 3R pyrolysis; phosphorus recovery; animal by-products; apatite
Online: 10 April 2018 (16:28:11 CEST)
Disrupted nutrient recycling is a significant problem for Europe, while phosphorus and nitrogen are wasted instead of being used for plant nutrition. Mineral phosphate is critical raw material, which contains environmentally hazardous elements such as cadmium and uranium. Therefore, phosphorus recovery from agricultural by-product streams is critically important key priority. Phosphorus recovery from food grade animal bone by-products have been applied researched since 2002 with objective driven evolution progress towards specialized pyrolysis processing technology and animal bone char product (ABC) developments in economical industrial scale. Different animal bone by-products tested under different conditions at 400 kg/h throughput capacity in the continuously operated 3R zero emission autothermal carbonization system. The different material core treatment temperatures (between >300°C and <850°C) were combined with different residence times under industrial productive processing conditions. It has been industrial demonstrated that material core treatment temperature <850°C with 20 minutes residence time is necessary to achieve high quality ABC with useful agronomic value. The output ABC product having concentrated >30% phosphorus pentoxide (P2O5) and specific quality innovative fertilizer for agronomical efficient organic and low input farming applications as functional organic fertilizer, soil improver, growing medium and/or fertilizing product blend with high mineral phosphate fertiliser replacement value.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0335.v1
Online: 22 July 2022 (09:57:40 CEST)
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), etiological agent of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has spread since December 2019, resulting in massive health and economic crisis worldwide. While efforts to stop the pandemic are crucial, collecting epidemiological data to help manage current and future pandemics will be important. In addition to humans, serological and molecular based studies have demonstrated SARS CoV-2 exposure in several wild, domestic and farmed animals. For examples Shriner and the team showed serologically an exposure of 40% to the white deer living in close proximity to urban centers. Additional reports have also emerged of susceptibility of animal’s species like cats, ferrets, raccoon dogs, cynomolgus macaques, rhesus macaques, white-tailed deer, rabbits, Egyptian fruit bats, and Syrian hamsters to SARS-CoV-2 infection.. It’s worth emphasizing that these reports are based on experimental data mostly derived from Europe, USA, South America and parts of Asia. In limited instances natural infections of SARS-CoV-2 have been reported in pet dogs, cats, tigers, lions, snow leopards, pumas, gorillas at zoos and farmed mink and ferrets. The presence of the virus in animal species and an understanding of whether these are natural or recent human to animal transmissions is important. It’s possible that such transmission could passage the virus or subject the virus to a different immunological pressure thereby helping with the development of viral variants in addition to being a host for future reservoirs of the virus. In Kenya SARS-CoV-2 was first detected on March 12th 2020 from imported human cases of persons who had travelled from the United States. This was followed by detection of imported cases majorly from China, Sweden and United Kingdom. Later infections were confirmed in Nairobi and Mombasa suggesting further cases of disease importations through the major ports of entry. However, no comparable data on animal exposure have hitherto been generated in Kenya. To address this key concern, we focused on three objectives; 1) development of a robust antibody ELISA based on crude SARS-CoV-2 lysate. 2) SARS-CoV-2 serology of domestic animals in Kenya. 3) Corroboration of the crude lysate based seroprevalence data and a commercial ELISA kit based on the Spike receptor binding domain (RBD) antigen. Our sample set included camel sera (both pre- & post outbreak sera), as well as sera from cats and dogs collected at the peak of the pandemic. Our results using the ELISA based on crude SARS-CoV-2 lysate indicated SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in camels (71%, N=145), cats 11% (N=16) and dogs (81%, N=36) with varying titer levels. These findings were comparable to those obtained using the commercial ELISA kit based on the spike RBD antigens. In summary, the data warrants two key conclusions: (i) we have demonstrated that the crude lysate ELISA allows for SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection, and given its potential to offer robust detection could be applied for initial mass screening (ii) although the current study cannot disentangle the relative contributions of antigenic cross-reactivity, pre-pandemic exposure to SARS-CoV-2 or human-animal transmission, it nonetheless demonstrates for the first time the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 like antibodies in domestic and wild animals in Kenya. Our findings set the scene for further research into the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in domestic and wild animals to understand their potential epidemiological implications.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0375.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biotechnology Keywords: melanin; extraction; isolation; animal; plant; microbes
Online: 27 May 2022 (09:07:30 CEST)
Melanins are phenolic biopolymers synthesised by most of the living organism mainly for photoprotection or surviving in harsh conditions. Melanin is localised in different areas or complexed with different other biomolecules when observed from animals to microbes. This makes the melanin extraction procedure different in animal, plant and microbial tissues. Basically, the alkali-acid extraction is used in most protocols of which slight variations are there depending on the tissue used. This review will try to compile melanin extraction procedures from different cells and tissues ranging from animals to bacteria.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201610.0083.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: stroke; antioxidant; co-drug; animal model
Online: 20 October 2016 (08:46:38 CEST)
Background: Previously, our laboratory has provided evidence that pre-administration of the antioxidant, lipoic acid covalently bonded to various naturally occurring antioxidants, enhanced neuroprotective capacity compared to the administration of lipoic acid on its own. The naturally occurring compound scopoletin, a coumarin derivative, has been shown in various in vitro studies to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanism of actions. To date, the effect of scopoletin on neuronal cell death in an in vivo model of ischemia or ischemia-reperfusion has not been investigated. Therefore, the present investigation was designed to determine if scopoletin on its own, or a co-drug consisting of lipoic acid and scopoletin covalent bond, named UPEI-400, would be capable of demonstrating a similar neuroprotective efficacy. Methods: Using a rodent model of stroke in male rats (anesthetized with Inactin®; 100 mg/kg, iv), the middle cerebral artery was permanently occluded for 6 hours (pMCAO), or in separate animals, occluded for 30 min followed by 5.5 hrs of reperfusion (ischemia/reperfusion; I/R). Results: Pre-administration of either scopoletin or UPEI-400 significantly decreased infarct volume in the I/R model (p<0.05), but not in the pMCAO model of stroke. However, UPEI-400 was ~1000 times more potent as compared to scopoletin on its own. The optimal dose of UPEI-400 was then injected during the occlusion and at several time points during reperfusion and significant neuroprotection was observed for up to 150 mins following the start of reperfusion (p<0.05). Conclusion: The data suggest that synthetic combination of scopoletin with lipoic acid (UPEI-400) is a more effective neuroprotectant that either compound on their own. Also, since UPEI-400 was only effective in a model of I/R, it is possible that it may act to enhance neuronal antioxidant capacity and/or upregulate anti-inflammatory pathways to prevent the neuronal cell death.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0052.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: animal-assisted interventions; child development; dog bites; dog-borne zoonoses; dog ownership; dog welfare; human-animal interactions
Online: 6 October 2022 (08:13:49 CEST)
Our wellbeing is greatly influenced by our childhood and adolescence, and the relationships that we form during those phases of our development. The human-dog bond started thousands of years ago. The higher prevalence of dog ownership around the world, especially in households including children along with the growing number of people studying dogs most likely explain the growing literature focusing on child-dog interactions. We review the potential effects of child-dog interactions on the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of both species. A scoping search of the SCOPUS database found several hundred documents meeting selection criteria. It allowed us to define the numerous ways in which children and dogs can interact, be it neutral (e.g., sharing a common area), positive (e.g., petting), or negative (e.g., biting). Then, we found evidence for an association between interacting with dogs during childhood and an array of health and mental benefits like stress relief and the development of empathy. Walking a dog and playing with one are perfect physical activity opportunities. Additionally, interacting with a dog can help lower stress and may have a role in the development of empathy. Nonetheless, a number of detrimental outcomes have also been identified in both humans and dogs. Children are the most at-risk population regarding dog bites and dog-borne zoonoses, which may lead to a subsequent fear of dogs or even death. Moreover, pet bereavement is generally inevitable when living with a canine companion and should not be trivialized. In terms of dogs, children sometimes take part in caretaking behaviors toward them which include going on walks. They are opportunities for dogs to relieve themselves outside, but also to exercise and socialize. In contrast, a lack of physical activity can lead to the onset of obesity. Dogs may present greater levels of stress when in the presence of children. Finally, the welfare of assistance, therapy, and free-roaming dogs remains underexplored. Overall, the study of the effects, positive as well as negative, on both species still requires further development. We call for more longitudinal studies and hope for cross-cultural research in the future in order to better understand the impact child-dog interactions might have.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202102.0253.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: airborne pathogens; animal production; infectious animal disease; livestock health; mass balance; swine diseases; viral aerosol; virus isolation
Online: 10 February 2021 (11:41:43 CET)
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) infections cause significant economic losses to swine producers every year. Aerosols containing infectious PRRSV are an important route of transmission, and proper treatment of air could mitigate the airborne spread of the virus within and between barns. Previous bioaerosol studies focused on the microbiology of PRRSV aerosols; thus, the current study addressed the engineering aspects of virus aerosolization and collection. Specific objectives were to (1) build and test a virus aerosolization system, (2) achieve a uniform and repeatable aerosol generation and collection throughout all replicates, (3) identify and minimize sources of variation, (4) verify that the collection system (impingers) performed similarly. The system for virus aerosolization was built and tested (Obj. 1). The uniform airflow distribution was confirmed using a physical tracer (<12% relative standard deviation) for all treatments and sound engineering control of flow rates (Obj. 2). Theoretical uncertainty analyses and mass balance calculations showed <3% loss of air mass flow rate between the inlet and outlet (Obj. 3). A comparison of TCID50 values among impinger fluids showed no statistical difference between any two of the three trials (p-value = 0.148, 0.357, 0.846) (Obj. 4). These results showed that the readiness of the system for research on virus aerosolization and treatment (e.g., by ultraviolet light), as well as its potential use for research on other types of airborne pathogens and their mitigation on a laboratory scale.
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0111.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: Animal reservoirs; Leptospirosis; recreational area; rodents; Malaysia
Online: 10 October 2022 (02:56:52 CEST)
Leptospirosis is an important zoonotic disease that is transmitted worldwide through infected small mammals such as rodents. In Malaysia, there is paucity of information on the animal reservoirs that are responsible for leptospirosis transmission, with only few studies focusing on leptospirosis risk in recreational areas. Therefore, in this study, we characterized the species composition and the prevalence of pathogenic Leptospira spp. in non-volant small mammals of Hutan Lipur Sekayu, Terengganu. We performed ten trapping sessions totaling 3,000 trapping efforts between September 2019 and October 2020. Kidney samples from captured individuals were extracted for the PCR detection of pathogenic Leptospira spp. Overall, we captured 45 individuals from 8 species (1.56% successful trapping effort), with 9 individuals testing positive for pathogenic Leptospira, that is 20% (n = 9/45) prevalence rate. Rattus tiomanicus (n = 22) was the most dominant captured species and was found to harbour the highest positive individual with pathogenic Leptospira (44.4%, n = 4/9). Despite the low successful trapping effort in this study, the result shows that the non-volant small mammals of Hutan Lipur Sekayu are capable of maintaining and transmitting pathogenic Leptospira, thus making this recreational area a potential infestation ground for leptospirosis.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202109.0264.v1
Subject: Biology, Other Keywords: choanoflagellates; multicellularity; animal origins; genome editing; electroporation
Online: 15 September 2021 (14:39:19 CEST)
Choanoflagellates, the closest living relatives of animals, have the potential to reveal the genetic and cell biological foundations of complex multicellular development in animals. Here we describe the history of research on the choanoflagellate Salpingoeca rosetta. From its original isolation in 2000 to the establishment of CRISPR-mediated genome editing in 2020, S. rosetta provides an instructive case study in the establishment of a new model organism.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0033.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: Campylobacter; Antimicrobial Resistance; Foodborne Pathogen; Animal Source
Online: 5 May 2021 (11:05:37 CEST)
Campylobacter is one of the major foodborne pathogens of concern in its growing trend of antimicrobial resistance. C. jejuni and C. coli are the major causative agents, with C. jejuni contributing to most of the cases in approximately 90% in the world. Infection is transmitted to humans due to consumption of contaminated food and water. Campylobacteriosis caused by C. jejuni is commonly presented with severe diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting with some extreme cases resulting in Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) and acute flaccid paralysis. Symptoms are severe in cases of children below 5 years, elderly and individuals who are immunocompromised. The infection is usually sporadic, and self-limiting and thus does not require antibiotics for treatment. Still, the antimicrobial resistance in Campylobacter is a major concern because of the transmission of resistance from animal sources to humans. This review highlights the recent epidemiology, geographical impact, resistance mechanisms, spread of Campylobacter spp. and the strategies to control the transmission of Campylobacter from veterinary sources and its antimicrobial resistance.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202010.0118.v1
Online: 6 October 2020 (10:53:17 CEST)
Here we review and describe a set of research priorities to meet present and future challenges posed to farmed animal production that build on progress, successes and resources from the Functional Annotation of ANimal Genomes (FAANG) project.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0376.v1
Subject: Materials Science, Nanotechnology Keywords: fullerene; fish; daphnia; toxicity; aquatic animal; nanomaterial
Online: 17 September 2020 (05:51:49 CEST)
Fullerene molecules are composed of carbon in forms of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid, or tube. Fullerenes have attracted considerable attention in different fields of science since their discovery in 1985. The unique carbon cage structure of fullerene provides immense scope for derivatization, rendering potential for various industrial applications. The prospective applications of fullerenes thus have led to assorted fullerene derivatives. The unique chemical structure also provides ease for fullerene to be synthesized through various kinds of conjugating techniques, where fullerene can be located either on the backbone or the branch chain. Here in this review, we have compiled the toxicity and biosafety aspects of fullerene in aquatic organisms. The frequent use of fullerene is likely to come in contact and interact with the aquatic environment and aquatic organisms. According to the current understanding, waterborne exposure to fullerene-based nanomaterials indeed triggers toxicities at cellular, organic, molecular as well as neurobehavioral levels.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201908.0249.v1
Online: 23 August 2019 (11:59:00 CEST)
We evaluated progress towards animal biodiversity research in Georgia, a key area in the Caucasus biodiversity hotspot. By reviewing recently (1990-2018) published articles in all areas of animal diversity research, we unmasked the trends in biodiversity inventory, ecological and biogeographical studies, and conservation issues in Georgia. We concluded that species inventory and biodiversity research in Georgia has significantly increased during the last ten years, however the rate and extent of investigation is far from satisfactory. Major gaps remain in all branches of animal diversity research in Georgia, and consequently existing knowledge is inadequate to address modern challenges related to species and ecosystem conservation. We urge local governmental authorities and international scientific societies to support development of stronger research facilities and cultivate interest in biodiversity inventory and research in Georgia as an important step towards maintaining globally important biodiversity in the Caucasus.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0204.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Neuroscience Keywords: Fear; Zebrafish; Alarm substance; Animal model; Serotonin
Online: 11 July 2018 (14:10:24 CEST)
Fear can sometimes paralyze us, and it can sometimes be exciting; for some people, fear is so crippling it can significantly mix up their lifes! We understand a little bit about how the brain acts when we are afraid, mainly by studying the brains of animals. Recently, surprising findings were made using a humble animal, the zebrafish – a small aquarium fish that in the past has helped scientists figure out how our organs develop. Zebrafish are useful because they develop quickly, reproduce richly, and have brains which are similar to ours. They also produce what we call an “alarm substance” that alerts shoalmates when one of them has been injured; when they smell this substance in the water they act as if they are very scared. When this happens, they release serotonin in their brains, a neurotransmitter that acts as a light switch, making them less afraid but more cautious – as if trying to figure out if a predator is there or not. Hopefully, finding more about how the zebrafish brains process this serotonin signal can help scientists develop better treatments for mental disorders that are associated with fear.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201703.0048.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Sociology Keywords: animal welfare; attitudes; chicken; knowledge; consumption; poultry
Online: 8 March 2017 (07:35:54 CET)
Little is known about public knowledge of meat chicken production and how it influences attitudes to birds’ welfare and consumer behaviour. We interviewed 506 members of the public in SE Queensland, Australia, to investigate this. Knowledge was assessed from 15 questions, and low scores were supported by respondents’ self-assessed report of low knowledge levels and agreement that their knowledge was insufficient to form an opinion about which chicken products to purchase. Older respondents and single people without children were most knowledgeable. There was uncertainty about whether chicken welfare was adequate, particularly in those with little knowledge. There was also evidence that lack of empathy towards chickens related to lack of knowledge, since those that thought it very acceptable that some birds are inadequately stunned at slaughter had low knowledge scores. More knowledgeable respondents ate chicken more frequently and were less likely to buy products with accredited labelling. Approximately half of the respondents thought the welfare of the chicken to be more important than the cost. It is concluded that the public’s knowledge has an important connection to their attitudes and consumption of meat chickens. Respondents with little knowledge demonstrated that they had both lack of empathy and intolerance to religious slaughter practices.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0012.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: animal welfare; welfare range; comparative cognition; interspecies comparisons
Online: 3 October 2022 (13:03:23 CEST)
The number of animals bred, raised, and slaughtered each year is on the rise, resulting in increasing impacts to welfare. Farmed animals are also becoming more diverse, ranging from pigs to bees. The diversity and number of species farmed invites questions about how best to allocate currently limited resources towards safeguarding and improving welfare. This is of the utmost concern to animal welfare funders and effective altruism advocates, who are responsible for targeting the areas most likely to cause harm. For example, is tail docking worse for pigs than beak trimming is for chickens in terms of their pain, suffering, and general experience? Or are the welfare impacts equal? Answering these questions requires making an interspecies welfare comparison; a judgment about how good or bad different species fare relative to one another. Here, we outline and discuss an empirically-based methodology that aims to improve our ability to make interspecies welfare comparisons by investigating welfare range, which refers to how good or bad animals can fare. We begin our proposal with a theory of welfare. We operationalize that theory of welfare by identifying metrics that are defensible proxies for measuring welfare, including cognitive, affective, behavioral, and neuro-biological measures. We assign differential weights to those proxies that reflect their evidential value for the determinants of welfare, such as the “Delphi'' structured deliberation method with a panel of experts. Then we review the evidence and score its quality to ascertain whether a particular taxa may possess the proxies in question to construct a taxa-level welfare range profile. Finally, we use a Monte Carlo simulation to generate an overall estimate of comparative welfare range relative to our hypothetical index species - humans. Interspecies welfare comparisons will help facilitate empirically informed decision-making to streamline the allocation of resources and to ultimately better prioritize and improve animal welfare.
SHORT NOTE | doi:10.20944/preprints202206.0048.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: craniofacial; laboratory animal; mental foramen; mental nerve; polecat
Online: 3 June 2022 (11:18:03 CEST)
In order to analyse asymmetries between hemimandibles, a sample of 24 mandibles from ferrets was studied by means of geometric morphometric methods, using a set of 3 landmarks and 14 semilandmarks, on the lateral aspect. Results showed that both size and shape played a significative role in mandibular asymmetry. For shape, there appeared significative fluctuating and directional asymmetries, with an especially high level for this latter. Landmarks corresponding to muscular attachments showed greater landmark asymmetry. This it is supported the hypothesis of a chewing side preference, e.g., a mastication-related driver for mandibular shape asymmetry.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0425.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Goat; Sheep; Small Ruminants; Animal Models; Regenerative Medicine.
Online: 21 January 2021 (15:01:17 CET)
Medical and translational scientific research requires the use of animal models as an initial approach to the study of new therapies and treatments, but when the objective is an exploration of translational potentialities, classical models fail to adequately mimic problems in humans. Among the larger animal models that have been explored more intensely in recent decades, small ruminants, namely sheep and goats, have emerged as excellent options. The main advantages associated to the use of these animals in research works are related to their anatomy and dimensions very similar to those of humans in most physiological systems, in addition to their low maintenance and feeding costs, tendency to be docile, long life expectancies and few ethical complications raised in society. The most obvious disadvantages are the significant differences in some systems such as the gastrointestinal, and the reduced amount of data that limits the comparison between works and the validation of the characterization essays. Despite everything, recently these species have been increasingly used as animal models for diseases in different systems, and the results obtained open doors for their more frequent and advantageous use in the future. The purpose of this review is to summarize the general principles related to the use of small ruminants as animal models, with focus on regenerative medicine, to group the most relevant works and results published recently and to highlight the potentials for the near future in medical research.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0192.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: animal; COVID-19; intermediate host; SARS-COV-2
Online: 16 May 2020 (18:06:34 CEST)
A novel coronavirus has been reported as the causative pathogen of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak Wuhan city, China in December 2019. Due to the rapid spreading of COVID-19 worldwide, it has been announced as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Hospitalized patients in Wuhan are associated with the Huanan seafood wholesale market where live animals, such as poultry, bats, snakes, frogs, rabbits, marmots, and hedgehogs are sold in that market which suggests a possible zoonotic infection. Therefore, it is essential to identify the potential animal reservoir, and the possibility of infection for other animal species. This short review aims to provide an overview on the relation between severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus‐2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) infection and animals.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0143.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: Anthropozoology; social network; human-animal bond; herd synchronization; biologging
Online: 8 December 2022 (03:23:14 CET)
Herdsmen use different techniques, as per varying geographies and cultures, to keep the cohesion within herds and avoid animals getting lost or predated. However, there is no study on the social behaviour of yaks and on herdsmen management practices. Therefore, this ethology study was initiated by ethnographic inquiries. In Manang, the success of the shepherd is dictated by his personal attribute of “Khula man” or open-heartedness. This attribute refers to good intentions and emotions such as empathy that allows the shepherd to focus more on others than on ownself. This cultural method of assessing the skills required to become a successful and knowledgable shepherd guided us to study the effect of cultural values on the herd’s social behavior. We collected data from two herds living at the same settlement (Yak kharka, 4,100 m altitude, Nepal) by equipping them with loggers. One of the herdsman used the tether rope while other did not. Moreover, the Thaku herd had a more proactive shepherd than the Phurba one. In each herd, 17 animals were equipped with one actigraph wgt3x-BT to measure activity using accelerometer and spatial associations using proximity recorder. One of the herds was equipped with GPS (N=11) as well. Using GPS locations and activity, we showed that the two herds were cohesive and synchronised their activities but the herd with the tether rope was more cohesive. The shepherds also have personal knowledge of the social relationships of their herds and use these relationships to keep the group cohesive and to well manage cattle.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0405.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Nutrition Keywords: caffeine; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; impulsivity; ADHD; animal models
Online: 24 December 2021 (11:34:52 CET)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity. Neurobiologically, ADHD impairments arise from abnormalities in different circuits involving the prefrontal cortex. In face of high rates of diagnosis, alternative/complementary pharmacological therapeutic approaches for ADHD are needed. Although the number of publications that study the potential effects of caf-feine consumption on ADHD treatment have been accumulating over the last years, and caffeine has recently been used in ADHD research in the context of animal models, an updated evi-dence-based systematic review on the effects of caffeine on ADHD-like symptoms in animal stud-ies is missing. To provide insight and value at the preclinical level, a systematic review based on PRISMA guidelines was performed for all publications available up to September 1, 2021. Caffeine treatment increases attention, improves learning, memory and olfactory discrimination, without altering blood pressure and body weight. These results are supported at the neuronal level. Nonetheless, the implication of caffeine in modulating ADHD-like symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity is contradictory, raising discrepancies that require further clarification. Our results strengthen the hypothesis that caffeine cognitive effects found in animal models could be trans-lated to human ADHD, particularly during adolescence.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0231.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; magnetic resonance imaging; animal model; amyloid-beta
Online: 15 October 2021 (15:06:55 CEST)
Amyloid-beta plays an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Aberrant amyloid-beta and tau accumulation induce neuroinflammation, cerebrovascular alterations, synaptic deficits, functional deficits, and neurodegeneration, leading to cognitive impairment. Animal models recapitulating the amyloid-beta pathology such as transgenic, knock-in mouse and rat models have facilitated the understanding of disease mechanisms and development of therapeutics targeting at amyloid-beta. There is a rapid advance in high-field MR in small animals. Versatile high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences such as diffusion tensor imaging, arterial spin labelling, resting-state functional MRI, anatomical MRI, MR spectroscopy as well as contrast agents have been developed for the applications in animal models. These tools have enabled high-resolution in vivo structural, functional, and molecular readouts with a whole brain field-of-view. MRI have been utilized to visualize non-invasively the amyloid-beta deposits, synaptic deficits, regional brain atrophy, impairment in white matter integrity, functional connectivity, cerebrovascular and glymphatic system in animal models of amyloidosis. Many of the readouts are translational in clinical MRI in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. In this review, we summarize the recent advance of using MRI for visualizing the pathophysiology in amyloidosis animal model. We discuss the outstanding challenges in brain imaging using MRI in small animal and propose future outlook in visualizing amyloid-beta-related alterations in brain of animal models.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0573.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: fluorescence microscopy; fluorescence emission, malignant tumor, diagnosis, animal experiment
Online: 21 April 2021 (11:47:14 CEST)
A surgical microscope is large in size, which makes it impossible to be portable. The distance between the surgical microscope and the observation tissue is 15–30 cm, and the adjustment range of the right and left of the camera is a maximum of 30°. Therefore, the surgical microscope is generated attenuation (above 58%) of irradiation optical source owing to the long working distance. Moreover, the observation of tissue is affected because of dazzling by ambient light as the optical source power is strong (55 to 160 mW/cm2). Further, observation blind spot phenomena will occur due to the limitations in adjusting the right and left of the camera. Therefore, it is difficult to clearly observe the tumor. In this study, a compact pen-type probe with a portable surgical microscope is presented. The proposed surgical microscope comprises a small and portable pen-type probe that can adjust the working distance between the probe and the observed tissue. In addition, it allows the adjustment of the viewing angle and fluorescence brightness. The proposed probe has no blind spots or optical density loss.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0557.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: fluorescence microscopy; fluorescence emission; malignant tumor; diagnosis; animal experiment
Online: 21 April 2021 (08:30:11 CEST)
A surgical microscope is large in size, making portability impossible. The distance between the surgical microscope and the observation tissue is 15 to 30 cm, while the maximum adjustment range of the camera to the right and left is 30°. Therefore, surgical microscopes cause attenuation (above 58%) of the irradiation optical source owing to the long working distance. Moreover, the observation of tissue was dazzled with ambient light because the optical power source was strong (50 to 160 mW/cm2). Owing to the limited ability to adjust the camera to the right and left, a blind spot occurs with a surgical microscope. Therefore, it is difficult to clearly observe a tumor. In this study, a compact pen-type probe with a portable surgical microscope is proposed. The pen-type probe is small with a portable shape, and is capable of adjusting the working distance between itself and the observed tissue. It is also possible to adjust the viewing angle and fluorescence brightness. The proposed pen-type probe has no blind spots or optical density loss.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0109.v1
Subject: Biology, Physiology Keywords: Leptin, Animal Communication, Electric Fish, Singing Mice, Metabolism, Energetics
Online: 5 April 2021 (12:11:15 CEST)
Animal communication signals are regulated by multiple hormonal axes that ensure appropriate signal targeting, timing, and information content. The regulatory roles of steroid hormones and many peptide hormones are well understood and documented across a wide range of vertebrate taxa. Two recent studies have reported a novel function for leptin, a peptide hormone central to energy balance regulation: regulating communication signals of weakly electric fish and singing mice. With only limited evidence available at this time, a key question is just how widespread leptinergic regulation of communication signals is within and across taxa. A second important question is what features of communication signals are subject to leptinergic regulation. Here we consider the functional significance of leptinergic regulation of animal communication signals in the context of both direct and indirect signal metabolic costs. Direct costs arise from metabolic investment in signal production, while indirect costs arise from the predation and social conflict consequences of the signal’s information content. We propose a preliminary conceptual framework for predicting which species will exhibit leptinergic regulation of their communication signals and which signal features leptin will regulate. This framework suggests a number of directly testable predictions within and across taxa. Accounting for additional factors such as life history and reproductive strategies will likely require modification or elaboration of this model.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202102.0555.v1
Subject: Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry Keywords: Fungal chitosan; animal chitosan; wine clarification; dissolving acid comparison.
Online: 24 February 2021 (16:38:23 CET)
Chitosan is a chitin-derived fiber, extracted from the shellfish shells, a by-product of fish industry, or from fungi grown in bioreactors. In oenology, it is used for the control of Brettanomyces spp., for the prevention of ferric, copper and protein casse and for clarification. The International Organisation of Vine and Wine established the exclusive utilization of fungal chitosan to avoid the eventuality of allergic reactions. This work focuses on the differences between two chitosan categories, fungal and animal chitosan, characterizing several samples in terms of chitin content and degree of deacety-lation. In addition, different acids were used to dissolve chitosans, and their effect on viscosity and on the efficacy in wine clarification were observed. Results demonstrated that, even if fungal and animal chitosans shared similar chemical properties (deacetylation degree and chitin content), they showed different viscosity depending on the acid used to dissolve them. A significant difference was discovered on their fining properties, as animal chitosans showed a faster and greater sedimentation compared to the fungal, independently from the acid used for their dissolution. This suggests that physic-chemical differences in the molecular structure occur between the two chitosan categories and that this affect significantly their technologic (oenological) properties.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202102.0487.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology Keywords: Memory reconsolidation; Animal models; Alcohol addiction; Nicotine; relapse; tobacco
Online: 22 February 2021 (15:29:50 CET)
Alcohol and nicotine are widely-abused legal substances worldwide. Relapse to alcohol or tobacco seeking and consumption after abstinence is a major clinical challenge, and is often evoked by cue-induced craving. Therefore, disruption of the memory for the cue-drug association is expected to suppress relapse. Memories have been postulated to become labile shortly after their retrieval, during a “memory reconsolidation” process. Interference with the reconsolidation of drug-associated memories has been suggested as a possible strategy to reduce or even prevent cue-induced craving and relapse. Here, we surveyed the growing body of studies in animal models and in humans assessing the effectiveness of pharmacological or behavioral manipulations in reducing relapse by interfering with the reconsolidation of alcohol and nicotine/tobacco memories. Our review points to the potential of targeting the reconsolidation of these memories as a strategy to suppress relapse to alcohol drinking and tobacco smoking. However, we discuss several critical limitations and boundary conditions, which should be considered to improve the consistency and replicability in the field, and for development of an efficient reconsolidation-based relapse prevention therapy.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0417.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: adaptation physiology; sensors; precision livestock farming; wearable animal sensors
Online: 19 July 2020 (18:27:52 CEST)
Despite recent scientific advancements, there is a gap in the use of technology to measure signals, behaviors, and processes of adaptation physiology of farm animals. Sensors present exciting opportunities for sustained, real-time, non-intrusive measurement of farm animal behavioral, mental, and physiological parameters with the integration of nanotechnology and instrumentation. This paper critically reviews the sensing technology and sensor data-based models used to explore biological systems such as animal behavior, energy metabolism, epidemiology, immunity, health, and animal reproduction. The use of sensor technology to assess physiological parameters can provide tremendous benefits and tools to overcome and minimize production losses while making positive contributions to animal welfare. Of course, sensor technology is not free from challenges; these devices are at times highly sensitive and prone to damage from dirt, dust, sunlight, colour, fur, feathers, and environmental forces. Rural farmers unfamiliar with the technologies must be convinced and taught to use sensor-based technologies in farming and livestock management. While there is no doubt that demand will grow for non-invasive sensor-based technologies that require minimum contact with animals and can provide remote access to data, their true success lies in the acceptance of these technologies by the livestock industry.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0092.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: Bacterial resistance; Animal venom; Purification; Antibacterial and antibiofilm activity
Online: 6 July 2020 (04:00:43 CEST)
Introduction: Bacterial resistance is a worldwide public health problem, requiring new therapeutic options. An alternative approach to this problem is the use of animal toxins, such as phospholipases (PLA2) isolated from snake venom, which have important biological activities. Bothrops erythromelas is one of the snake species in the Northeast of Brazil that attracts great medical-scientific interest. Here we aimed to purify and characterize a PLA2 from B. erythromelas, searching for heterologous activities against bacterial biofilm. Methods: Venom extraction and quantification were followed by RP-HPLC in C18 column, MALDI-ToF mass spectrometry and sequencing by Edman degradation. All experiments were monitored by specific activity using 4-nitro-3 (octanoyloxy) benzoic acid (4N3OBA) substrate. In addition, hemolytic tests and anti-bacterial tests including action against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Acinetobacter baumannii, were carried out. Moreover, tests of antibiofilm action against A. baumannii were also performed. Results: PLA2, after one purification step, presented 31 N-terminal amino acid residues, and molecular weight of 13656.4 Da with enzymatic activity confirmed in 0.06 µM concentration. Antibacterial activity against S. aureus (IC50 = 30.2 µM) and antibiofilm activity against A. baumannii (IC50 = 1.1 µM) were observed. Conclusions: This is the first time that PLA2 purified from B. erythromelas venom has appeared as an alternative candidate in studies of new antibacterial medicines.
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; companion animal; cross-infection
Online: 14 May 2020 (11:54:31 CEST)
Since the COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 break out in Wuhan China from Dec. 2019, it has spread to hundreds of countries up to now. Scientists from all over the world have paid tremendous efforts to research and try to control the disease. Previous studies suggested that some of the wild animals could be intermediate hosts between humans and origination of SARS-CoV-2, and some companion animals of humans can be infected by SARS-CoV-2, which raised our curiosity about cross-infection of SARS-CoV-2 between animals and humans. Thus, we select some kinds of animals that might have contact with humans to estimate the susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 in different animals by evolutionary analysis of their receptors for SARS-CoV-2. The results show that some companion animals of the Felidae family like the cat has a higher infection possibility while the species of the Rodent family like the rat and mouse having close contact with humans show an opposite result, which consist with recent animal experiments and researches. These should raise concerns about cross-infection between human and companion animals or animals to have close contact with humans which might grow into depositaries of the virus after control of SARS-CoV-2 spreading and cause second or more infection wave after social reopening. Another side of our results stands by the opinion that bioinformatic analysis can be consistent with practical experiments in some respects so that we can prevent unnecessary sacrifice of laboratory animals in future experiments.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0204.v1
Online: 12 May 2020 (05:45:58 CEST)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of CoV disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly pathogenic and transmissible CoV that is presently plaguing the global human population and economy. No proven effective anti-viral therapy or vaccine currently exist, and supportive care remains to be the cornerstone treatment. Through previous lessons learned from SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV studies, scientific groups worldwide have rapidly expanded the knowledge pertaining to SARS-CoV-2 virology that included in vitro and in vivo models for testing of anti-viral therapies, and randomized clinical trials. In the present narrative, we review SARS-CoV-2 virology, clinical features, pathophysiology, and animal models with a specific focus on anti-viral and adjunctive therapies currently being tested or require testing in animal models and randomized clinical trials.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201911.0286.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: diversity; conservation; animal genetic resources; indigenous pigs; southern Africa
Online: 24 November 2019 (14:47:39 CET)
Pig genetic resources in Africa originate from different regions. Genetic analysis has shown a strong phylogeographic pattern with the pigs on the eastern parts showing a high frequency of alleles from the Far East while the ones on the western parts show a strong European influence. This highlights the influence of trade routes on the genetic legacy of African pigs. They have, however, since adapted to the local environments to produce unique populations with unique attributes. Most of the pigs are now reared in resource-constrained smallholdings under free-range conditions. They are largely owned by women who spread ownership of the resource through kinship networks. Very little work has been done to characterize, conserve and sustainably utilize pig genetic resources in Southern Africa. The risk status of the breeds together with population numbers, distribution and other attributes are largely unknown. This paper proposes several strategies for the sustainable utilization of the pig genetic resources: a market-driven in situ conservation program and two complementary ex situ strategies. In addition, the possibility of community-based breed improvement programs is discussed.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201804.0146.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: species richness; latitudinal gradients; water-energy; habitat; animal richness
Online: 11 April 2018 (11:24:46 CEST)
Species data of 249 National Nature Reserves in China was used to identify potential underlying drivers of latitudinal gradients in plant diversity. We used generalized linear models (GLMs) to assess the correlations between predictor and response variables. We also used SAM (Spatial Analysis in Macroecology) to eliminate autocorrelation along each of the 249 studied locations. We used the Akaike information criterion (AICc; Montoya et al. 2007) to select the independent variables were those included in the best models from different combinations of climate, habitat and animal variables. Variance partitioning was used to decompose the variation in plant richness across different taxonomic levels among the three groups of predictors. We found that: Total plant species, gymnosperms, angiosperms and ferns showed significant latitudinal trends in richness (p < 0.001). Water-energy and habitat variables generally explained more variation in richness across different plant groups than did animal richness. Annual precipitation was selected as the best water-energy variable across different taxonomic plants groups, soil PH and elevation range were selected as the best habitat variables across different taxonomic plant groups. The independent effects of habitatvariables were higher than that of water-energy and animal variables across different taxonomic plants groups. Water-energy, habitat heterogeneity, and animal variables explain 48.8% of the variation in total species richness, 28.2% in gymnosperm richness, 44.2% in angiosperm richness, and 38.9% in fern richness.Plants showed significant latitudinal trends in richness (p < 0.001). Water-energy and habitat variables generally explained more variation in richness across different taxonomic plants groups than did animal variables. The independent effects of habitat variables were higher than those of water-energy and animal variables across different taxonomic plants groups.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201803.0223.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Nutrition Keywords: animal protein; plant protein; elderly; obesity; glomerular filtration rate
Online: 27 March 2018 (11:23:20 CEST)
Controversy exists on whether animal and plant proteins influence obesity differently. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association between total, animal, and plant protein intake with the obesity index and renal function in Korean adults. Study participants included Korean adults aged 60 years or older from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2013-2014. Height, weight, and waist circumference (WC) were measured and the body mass index (BMI) was calculated. One-day 24-hour recall data were used to estimate the daily total, animal, and plant protein intake. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was calculated by using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equation. General linear modellings were used to assess the relationships between protein intake, BMI and WC. The mean age was 69.2 ± 0.2 years, 44.2% were male. The total daily protein intake was 1.1 ± 0.02 g/kg/d and 0.9 ± 0.02 g/kg/d for males and females, respectively. Only one third of protein intake was from animal sources. In males, BMI (p < 0.001, p = 0.016, p < 0.001 respectively) and WC (p < 0.001, p = 0.010, p < 0.001, respectively) decreased as daily intake of plant protein (g/kg/d), animal protein (g/kg/d) and total protein (g/kg/d) increased. Similar associations were shown in Korean female. GFR was not associated with protein intake regardless of protein source in both sexes. In Korean adults aged 60 years or older, the protein intake was associated with a favorable obesity index without decrease in renal function. The effect was similar in both male and females, with both animal and plant proteins.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0500.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: Abdominal wall; Transversus abdominis plane block; Comparative anatomy; Animal models
Online: 26 November 2021 (10:47:30 CET)
With the increased use of simulation based training using animal models for the education of surgical and anaesthetic techniques, an increased understanding of the anatomy of such models and how they compare to humans is required. The transversus abdominis plane block is a regional anaesthetic technique that requires an understanding of the abdominal wall anatomy along with proficient ultrasound use. The current review aims to compare the anatomy of the abdominal wall across species, particularly focussing on the pertinent differences within the class of mammals, and secondarily, it aims to address the implications of these differences for simulation based training of the transversus abdominis plane block. To achieve this, the PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar databases were searched for relevant literature. The mammalian abdominal wall differs in its musculature, vasculature or innervation from that of amphibians, birds or reptiles, however, among species of mammals, the structure of the abdominal wall follows a similar framework. Particular differences among mammals include the additional muscular layer of the panniculus carnosus found in most mammals other than humans, the variable arterial origins and dominant vascular supply of the abdominal wall and the number of thoracolumbar nerves innervating the abdominal wall. When using animal models for simulation based training, the pig is recommended for the transversus abdominis plane block given its closely homologous abdominal wall structure, availability and larger comparative size.
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; animal models; vaccines; future prospects
Online: 2 August 2021 (13:15:48 CEST)
The worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become an unprecedented challenge to global public health. With the intensification of the COVID-19 epidemic, the development of vaccines and therapeutic drugs against the etiological agent severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are also widespread. To prove the effectiveness and safety of these preventive vaccines and therapeutic drugs, available animal models that faithfully recapitulate clinical hallmarks of COVID-19 are urgently needed. Currently, animal models including mice, golden hamsters, ferrets, nonhuman primates and other susceptible animals have been involved in the study of COVID-19. 92 vaccine candidates have entered clinical trials after the primary evaluation in animal models, of which inactivated vaccines, subunit vaccines, virus-vectored vaccines and mRNA vaccines are promising vaccine candidates. In this review, we summarize the landscape of animal models and advanced vaccines with efficacy range from about 50% to more than 95%. In addition, we point out future directions for animal models and vaccine development, aiming at providing valuable information and accelerating the breakthroughs confronting SARS-CoV-2.
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: Food; feeding; diets; macro-micronutrients; feeding behavior; pellet-animal performances
Online: 8 February 2021 (14:10:19 CET)
A number of studies have investigated different crustacean food stuffs, feeding methods, 18 and feeding behavior, but little attention has been given to the interaction between these aspects in 19 crustaceans. The aim of the present review is to update knowledge, and examine challenges and 20 opportunities in the development of formulated diets, as pelleted feed, which is vital for developing 21 better quality of seed or broodstock in hatcheries, and adaptation of hatchery product to the aqua- 22 culture environment, and production systems.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0620.v1
Subject: Keywords: Digital twin; Precision Livestock Farming; digitosome; Digital cohort; animal farming
Online: 29 January 2021 (12:48:12 CET)
Digital twin technology is already improving efficiencies and reducing costs across multiple industries and sectors. As the earliest adopters, space technology and manufacturing sectors have made the most sophisticated gains with automobile and natural resource extraction industries following close behind with recent investments in digital twin technology. The application of digital twins within the livestock farming sector is the next frontier. The possibilities that this technology may fuel are nearly endless as digital twins can be used to improve large-scale precision livestock farming practices, machinery and equipment usage, and the health and well-being of a wide variety of farm animals. Currently, many pioneers of digital twins in livestock farming are already applying sophisticated AI technology to monitor both animals and environment around the clock, which leads to a better understanding of animal behavior and distress, disease control and prevention, and smarter business decisions for the farmer. Mental and emotional states of animals can be monitored using recognition technology that examines facial features such as ear postures and eye white regions. Used with modeling, simulation and augmented reality technologies, digital twins can help farmers build more energy-efficient housing structures, predict heat cycles for breeding, discourage negative behaviors of livestock, and potentially much more. As with all disruptive technological advances, the implementation of digital twin technology will demand a thorough cost and benefit analysis by individual farms. Digital twin application will need to overcome challenges and accept limitations that arise. However, regardless of these issues, the potential of digital twins promises to revolutionize livestock farming in the future.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0101.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: animal welfare assessment; beef cow systems; semi-arid rangelands; Namibia
Online: 4 December 2020 (11:11:53 CET)
A proposed animal welfare assessment protocol for semi-arid rangeland-based cow-calf systems in Namibia combined 40 measures from a protocol developed for beef cattle in New Zealand with additional Namibia-specific measures. Preliminary validation of the protocol had been undertaken with five herds in one semi-commercial village. The aim of the current study was to apply this protocol and compare animal welfare across three cow-calf production systems in Namibia. A total of 2529 beef cows were evaluated during pregnancy testing in the yards of 17 commercial, 20 semi-commercial and 18 communal (total: 55) herds followed by an assessment of farm resources and a questionnaire-guided interview. Non-parametric tests were used to evaluate the difference in the welfare scores between the production systems. The results indicated a discrepancy of animal welfare between the three farm types, with a marked separation of commercial farms from semi-commercial, and communal village farms in the least. The differences in these production systems was mainly driven by economic gains through access to better beef export market for commercial farms and semi-commercial villages, as well as by the differences in the available grazing land, facility designs/quality and traditional customs in the village systems. The results indicate an advantage of commercialisation over communalisation.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0233.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: lignocellulosic substrate; pre-treatment; microalgae/cyanobacteria; biogas; problems; animal feed
Online: 10 August 2020 (03:46:14 CEST)
Modern day civilization is dependent on energy generation by fossil fuels. But the major drawback of using fossil fuels is environmental pollution. Microalgae are potential candidate for production of various products of interest, such as proteins, mini food, pigments and triglycerides that can be converted into biofuels. Lignocellulosic feedstocks are the most abundantly available raw material of plants that can serve as a promising feedstock for cultivating bacteria, fungi, yeasts and microalgae to produce biofuels and other value-added products. Owing to the abundant availability of these low/no cost substrates, can be utilized as feedstocks for cultivating microalgae to generate biogas/biodiesel. Likewise, there is much room to exploit defatted algal biomass to be used as animal/fish feed and oil producing/accumulating genes knowledge in future to produce high and good quality biodiesel and biogas.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201903.0255.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Geography Keywords: dog theft; pet theft; dogs; pets, crime; animal geography; GIS
Online: 28 March 2019 (06:40:57 CET)
Dogs are considered property under UK law, while current discourses of pet ownership place canine companions as part of an extended family. This means sentences for those who steal dogs are not reflective of a dogs’ sentience and agency, rather reflecting the same charges for those who steal a laptop or wallet. This is particularly problematic as dog theft is currently on the rise in England and Wales and led to public calls to change the law. Recognizing that a more robust analysis of dog theft crime statistics is required, we gathered dog theft data for 2015, 2016 and 2017 from 37 of 44 police forces through FOI requests. This paper uses this data to examine how dog theft crime statistics are constructed; assesses the strengths and weaknesses of this data; and categorizes, maps and measures dog theft changes temporally per police force in England and Wales. Our findings reveal there has been an increase in dog theft crimes, 1,294 in 2015, 1,525 in 2016 (+17.85%), and 1,678 in 2017 (+10.03%); and a decrease in court charges related to dog theft crimes, 62 (4.7%) in 2015, 48 (3.14%) in 2016, 37 (2.2%) in 2017. There were police force inconsistencies in recording dog theft crime which meant some data was unusable or could not be accessed or analysed. There is a need for a qualitative study to understand dog theft crime in different areas, and standardised approach to recording the theft of a dog by all forces across England and Wales.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201804.0356.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: animal model; chronic tympanic membrane perforation; mitomycin C; myringotomy; dexamethasone
Online: 27 April 2018 (08:36:00 CEST)
Background. A rat model of chronic tympanic membrane perforation was developed to be used in the search of new materials for the sealing of these perforations. Methods. A longitudinal study was carried out in rats subjected to incisional myringotomy followed by the application of mitomycin C alone or with dexamethasone. Rats were checked at days 3, 7, 10, 14 and weekly thereafter until perforation closure, for up to 6 months. Results. The addition of dexamethasone is a key component in order to obtain a chronic opening. Myringotomies treated with saline had a mean healing time of 8.5 days. At 8 weeks, 70.5% of these remained perforated and at 6 months this number fell to 21.4%. Conclusion. This technique is able to maintain more than 70% of tympanic membrane perforations patent for at least 8 weeks. This rat model is adequate for its use in preclinical or translational research.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0414.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: black soldier fly; fishmeal substitution; gut histology; animal performance; gilthead seabream
Online: 22 December 2022 (03:30:39 CET)
The effect of defatted Hermetia illucens meal (HIM) dietary inclusion on growth performance, stress indicators and gut histological traits of Sparus aurata was studied. For 131 days, 312 fish were fed with one basal diet, containing fish meal as animal protein source, and three diets containing 25%, 35% and 50% HIM as a partial replacement for fishmeal. On all fish (26 fish per tank, 3 replicate tanks per diet, 78 fish per diet) the growth performance were calculated. At the end of the trial, on a subsample of 72 specimens (6 fish per tank, 3 replicate tanks per diet, 18 fish per diet), stress parameters were determined on blood samples and gut histological tract investigated. Insect meal inclusion did not affect (p > 0.05) growth performance, blood parameters, length and width of villi and goblet cell count of the posterior gut tract while, those of the anterior gut tract while increased (p < 0.05). The histological examination of the intestinal sections showed in fish fed the HIM25 and HIM50 diets, more frequent and evident morphological changes; instead, there were no substantial differences between HIM0 and HIM35 groups. In conclusion, the HIM35 was the most tolerated formulation by fish.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0159.v2
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: animal ecology; conservation; raptors; telemetry; spatial ecology; management; Spain; behaviour; competition
Online: 14 December 2022 (01:15:36 CET)
High-resolution GPS/GSM dataloggers provide spatial information of the highest quality, which outperform previous tracking methods, such as Argos telemetry or conventional VHF ground-tracking. As a result, this has improved our knowledge of home-range behavior and spatial ecology of many species, including large raptors. In this paper, we use high-resolution GPS/GSM dataloggers to assess the home-range size and the role of sex, season (breeding or non-breeding season), and breeding status (reproductive or non-reproductive individuals) on the space use of Bonelli’s eagle (Aquila fasciata). To this end, 51 territorial individuals (25 females and 26 males) were equipped with GPS/GSM transmitters and were tracked over 7 years (2015–2021) in eastern Spain. Overall, we recorded 4,791,080 fixes that were analyzed through kernel density methods (50%, 75%, and 95% fixed kernels). The average individual home-range size according to the 95%, 75%, and 50% kernels was 54.84 ± 20.78 km2, 24.30 ± 10.18 km2, and 11.17 ± 4.90 km2, respectively. Overall, the home-range size of individuals occupying the same territory was similar, mainly due to the cooperative hunting behavior exhibited by the species. We did not find interannual differences in the home-range size (95% fixed kernel) of the majority of individuals, showing a strong territorial fidelity of the breeding pairs. In general, females’ home-range size was slightly smaller than males’ size due to the decrease in activity in the breeding season as a result of laying, incubation, and chick attendance at nests. No seasonal variation in the 95% kernel was found, but it was found in the 75% and 50% kernels. In regard to the breeding status, higher home-range size was recorded in the non-reproductive individuals. Moreover, we found a low neighbor overlap among the territories (4.18% ± 3.06%), which evidences a high level of intraspecific competition in the Bonelli’s eagle. Finally, this study highlights the advantages of the use of accurate telemetry information to improve our understanding of the spatial ecology of the endangered Bonelli’s eagle, which ultimately will serve to better inform management actions for its conservation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0202.v1
Online: 12 December 2022 (13:12:15 CET)
A new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.5 virus has displaced all previous variants of the virus around the world. Preliminary assessment of the effectiveness of drugs for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 requires the availability of infection models in animals. In this study, we characterize the infection model SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.5 and its progeny sublineage BE.1 in hACE2-transgenic mice and in Syrian hamsters. Both sublineages turned out to be pathogenic for animals – the challenged animals showed weight loss, a high level of viral load and acute inflammation in the lungs. Part of BA.5-infected mice died after virus challenge, indicating that this virus variant is more pathogenic than the previous BA.1 variant but less pathogenic than Wuhan variant.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0200.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: microRNAs; Precision livestock science; animal welfare; livestock health; biomarkers; biosensor; pandemics
Online: 13 July 2022 (13:12:32 CEST)
Early disease detection in livestock allows for target treatment decreasing antibiotics use and allow advancements in precision veterinary medicine. MicroRNA (miRNA) -driven signaling cascades play a crucial role in the context of farm animal disease diagnostics and prediction, and their proper understanding remains a challenge. In livestock farm animals, only a small number of miRNAs have been fully validated with respect to disease conditions and physiological or behavioral traits. Low abundance of miRNAs in blood and bodily fluids, along with a small number of nucleotides, makes detection and discrimination tedious and challenging task in. miRNAs usually are homologous, owing to which detection specificity becomes next to impossible when screening for multiple miRNAs in the same analyte sample. Hence, a concurrent, multiplexing, approach becomes crucial for the development of on-farm point-of-care based detection systems. Comprehensive screening methods demand broad dynamic range and enhanced specificity. For on-farm handheld platform development, the ability to screen for multiple varieties of miRNA is essential. In this review paper, I provide an overview of the recent developments of miRNA sensing and the current bottlenecks in the realization of the sensors for detecting miRNAS as target analyte for various livestock disease detection applications. Due to the nascent stages of this research, the possibilities of exploiting miRNAs as a biomarker opens up ways to move from reactive to predictive possibilities in diseases detection in the modern digital livestock farming.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0233.v1
Subject: Biology, Other Keywords: animal robots; neuronal electrical signal; electrical stimulation; Direct Digital Synthesis algorithm
Online: 12 November 2021 (15:15:25 CET)
As a stimulus signal, coded electrical signals can control the motion behavior of animals, which has been widely used in the field of animal robots. In current research, most of the stimulus signals used by researchers are traditional waveforms, such as square waves. To enrich the stimulus waveform, a wireless animal robot stimulation system based on neuronal electrical signal characteristics is presented in this paper. The stimulator uses the CC1101 wireless module to control animal behavior through brain stimulation. The LabVIEW-based graphical user interface(GUI) can manipulate brain stimulation remotely while the stimulator powered by battery. Additionally, The spikes of animals have been simulated by this system through Direct Digital Synthesizer(DDS) algorithm. The GUI enable users to customize the combination of these analog spike signals. The recombined signals are sent to the stimulator through CC1101 as stimulus signals. In vivo experiments conducted on five pigeons verified the efficacy of the stimulation mechanism. The analog spike signal with an amplitude of 3-5V successfully caused the pigeon’s turning behavior. The feasibility of the analog spike signals as stimulus signals was successfully verifified. Increased the diversity of stimulus waveforms in the field of animal robots.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0231.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: Phage therapy; clinical trials; animal models; safety and toxicity; immune activation
Online: 11 May 2021 (10:30:59 CEST)
Increasing rates of infection by antibiotic resistant bacteria have led to a resurgence of interest in bacteriophage (phage) therapy. Several phage therapy studies in animals and humans have been completed over the last two decades. We conducted a systematic review of safety and toxicity data associated with phage therapy in both animals and humans reported in English-language publications from 2008 – 2021. Overall, 69 publications met our eligibility criteria including 20 animal studies, 35 clinical case reports or case series, and 14 clinical trials. After summarizing safety and toxicity data from these publications, we discuss potential approaches to optimizing safety and toxicity monitoring with the therapeutic use of phage moving forward. In our systematic review of the literature, we found few, but no serious, adverse events associated with phage therapy. Comprehensive and standardized reporting of potential toxicities associated with phage therapy has generally been lacking in the published literature. Structured safety and tolerability endpoints are necessary when phages are administered as anti-infective therapeutics.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0087.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Myelodysplastic syndrome; Positron Emission Tomography; [18F]fluoro-thymidine; small animal imaging
Online: 5 April 2021 (10:14:33 CEST)
Higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (HR-MDS) has a poor prognosis in the absence of efficient therapy. The evaluation of new therapies in animal models of HR-MDS is hampered by the absence of accurate in vivo biomarkers of the disease. In this study we compared [18F]Fluoro-desoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography (FDG-PET) and [18F]Fluoro-thymidine (FLT)-PET imaging for disease follow-up in a triple transgenic MMTVtTA/TetoBCL-2/MRP8NRASD12 mouse model of HR-MDS. Normal control FVB/N mice (G1,n=9) and HR-MDS mice (G2,n=12) underwent both FDG- and FLT-PET procedures at 2-day intervals, on a dedicated small animal device. Blood cell counting, BCL-2 and Mac-1hi/Gr-1lo expression measurements in blood were performed before each PET procedure. Visually, PET images of G2 mice demonstrated homogeneous FDG uptake in the whole skeleton similar to that observed in G1 mice, and abnormal FLT hot spots in bone marrow not observed in G1 mice. The intensity of FLT hot spots in bone marrow was higher in 3-months old G2 mice than in 2-months old G2 mice, concordant with a higher percentage of cells expressing Mac-1hi/Gr-1lo and lower platelets counts. We conclude that FLT-PET/CT imaging is a more valuable surrogate non-invasive quantitative marker of HR-MDS bone marrow involvement than FDG-PET/CT in our mouse model of HR-MDS.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0338.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: animal personality; swimming activity; male mate choice; mating preferences; Poecilia reticulata
Online: 18 January 2021 (12:58:42 CET)
Mate choice that is based on behavioural traits is a common feature in the animal kingdom. Using the Trinidadian guppy, a species with mutual mate choice, we investigated whether males use female swimming activity – a behavioural trait known to differ consistently among individuals in many species – as a trait relevant for their mate choice. In a first experiment, we assessed male and female activity in an open field test alone (two repeated measures) and afterwards in heterosexual pairs (two repeated measures). In these pairs, we simultaneously assessed males’ mating efforts by counting number of sexual behaviours (courtship displays and copulation). Male and female guppies showed consistent individual differences in their swimming activity when tested both alone and in a pair, and these differences were maintained across both test situations. When controlling for male swimming behaviour and both male and female body size, males performed more courtship displays towards females with higher swimming activity. In a second experiment, we tested for a directional male preference for swimming activity by presenting males video animations of low and high active females in a dichotomous choice test. In congruence with experiment 1, we found males to spend significantly more time in association with the high active female stimulus. Both experiments thus point towards a directional male preference for higher activity levels in females. We discuss the adaptive significance of this preference as activity patterns might indicate individual female quality, health or reproductive state while, mechanistically, females that are more active might be more detectable to males as well.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0109.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: animal welfare assessment; categorisation; beef cow systems; semi-arid rangelands; Namibia
Online: 4 December 2020 (12:36:14 CET)
The study aimed to develop standards for a welfare assessment protocol, by validating potential categorisation thresholds for assessment of beef farms in various beef cow-calf production systems in Namibia. Forty measures combined from a New Zealand-based protocol plus Namibia-specific measures, were applied on 55 beef farms (17 commercial farms, 20 semi-commercial and 18 communal village farms) during pregnancy testing, and a questionnaire guided interview. The categorised measures on a 3-point welfare score of 0: good 1: marginal and 2: poor/unacceptable welfare were subsequently compared with derivation of thresholds based upon the poorest 15% and best 50% of herds for each measure. Overall combined thresholds of continuous measures across the 3 farm types, showed 10/22 measures that posed welfare compromise across Namibia, where commercial farms had 4/22 measures and semi-commercial and communal village farms had 12/22 and 11/22 respectively with high thresholds. Most measures-imposed thresholds were retained because of significant importance to welfare of animals and preventiveness of the traits, while leniency was given to adjust good feeding and mortality measures to signify periods of drought. Handling measures (fearful, falling/lying) and abrasions thresholds were adjusted to reflect the temporary stress caused by infrequent cattle handling, and faulty yard designs/design and possible cattle breed influence on handling. Hence, the country needs prioritised investigation of underlying contributing factors and remediation to reduce the high thresholds.
Subject: Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; S-protein; RBD; COVID-19; neutralizing antibodies; serology; vaccines; animal models; Warp Speed
Online: 21 June 2020 (15:44:06 CEST)
In this review, we address issues that relate to the rapid “Warp Speed” development of vaccines to counter the COVID-19 pandemic. We review the antibody response that is triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection of humans, and how it may inform vaccine research. The isolation and properties of neutralizing monoclonal antibodies from COVID-19 patients provide additional information on what vaccines should try to elicit. The nature and longevity of the antibody response to coronaviruses are relevant to the potency and duration of vaccine-induced immunity. We summarize the immunogenicity of leading vaccine candidates tested to date in animals and humans, and discuss the outcome and interpretation of virus-challenge experiments in animals. By far the most immunogenic vaccine candidates for antibody responses are recombinant proteins, which are not included in the initial wave of “Warp Speed” immunogens. A substantial concern for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines is adverse events, which we review by considering what was seen in studies of SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV vaccines. We conclude by outlining the possible outcomes of the “Warp Speed” vaccine program, which range from the hoped-for rapid success to a catastrophic adverse influence on vaccine uptake generally.
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0215.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Behavioral Neuroscience Keywords: endocanabinoid system; sleep deprivation; animal models; psychosis-like symptoms; drug development
Online: 14 April 2020 (06:28:23 CEST)
The interaction between endocannabinoid (eCB) system with in key brain structures such as hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex and sleep deprivation (SD)-induced psychosis has been less studied. The present hypothesis revolves around the question whether altered chemical dynamics within the eCB system with the resultant impact on cannabinoid receptors in key cortical hubs would impact SD-induced psychosis-like symptoms. Having this investigated research is expected to pave the path towards identifying newer drug targets namely for schizophrenia.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201811.0022.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: rift valley fever virus; arbovirus; caprine; challenge model; animal vaccine; zoonosis
Online: 2 November 2018 (05:25:35 CET)
Rift Valley Fever virus (RVFV) is a zoonotic arbovirus of the Phenuiviridae family. Infection causes abortions in pregnant animals, high mortality in neonate animals and mild to severe symptoms in both people and animals. There is currently an ongoing effort to produce safe and efficacious veterinary vaccines against RVFV in livestock to protect against both primary infection in animals and zoonotic infections in people. To test the efficacy of these vaccines it is essential to have a reliable challenge model in relevant target species, including ruminants. We evaluated two goats breeds (Nubian and LaMancha), three routes of inoculation (intranasal, mosquito-primed subcutaneous and subcutaneous) using an infectious dose of 107 pfu/ml, a virus strain from the 2006-07 Kenyan/Sudan outbreak and compared the effect of using virus stocks produced in either mammalian or mosquito cells. Our results demonstrated that Nubian goats achieved the highest levels and longer duration of viremia. In the Nubian goats, all three routes of inoculation were equally efficient at producing clinical signs, consistent viremia (peak viremia: 1.2x103 - 1.0x105 pfu/ml serum), nasal and oral shedding of viral RNA (1.5x101 – 8x106 genome copies/swab), a systemic infection of tissues, and robust antibody responses. The Nubian goat breed and a needle-free intranasal inoculation technique could both be utilized in future vaccine and challenge studies.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0130.v1
Subject: Biology, Other Keywords: brown-throated sloth; human-animal interactions; questionnaire; urban wildlife; Bradypus variegatus
Online: 8 May 2018 (10:53:37 CEST)
Free-range sloths living in an urban environment is rare. In this study, human opinions, attitudes and interactions with a population of Bradypus variegatus in a public square were investigated. A questionnaire was applied to people in the square where the sloths reside, and informal, opportunistic observations of human-sloth interactions were made. 95% of respondents knew of the sloths’ existence in the square and 87.8% likes their presence. Opinions about population size differed greatly and younger people were concerned if the square was appropriate place for them. Some human-sloth interactions showed the consequence of lack of biological knowledge. People initiated all sloth-human interactions. The fact that sloths are strictly folivorous has limited their interactions with humans and consequently minimised negative impact of the human-animal interaction on their wellbeing. These results demonstrate that while there is a harmonious relationship between people and sloths, actions in environmental education of the square’s public could be beneficial for the sloths.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0320.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: COVID19; SARS-CoV-2; metabolomics; omics; animal models; ferret; host metabolic responses
Online: 21 October 2022 (03:55:09 CEST)
The global threat of COVID-19 has led to the increasing use of metabolomics to study SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans and animals. Despite this, understanding SARS-CoV-2's metabolome during infection remains difficult and incomplete. Here, metabolic responses were characterized from sampled nasal washes collected from an asymptomatic ferret model (n = 20) at different time points before and after the SARS-CoV-2 challenge using an LC-MS-based metabolomics approach. Multivariate analysis of the nasal wash metabolome data resulted in several statistically significant features being observed. Despite no effects of gender or interaction between gender and time on the time course of SARS-CoV-2 infection, 16 metabolites were significantly different at every time point post-infection. Among these altered metabolites, the relative abundance of taurine was elevated post infection which could be an indication of hepatotoxicity, while the accumulation of sialic acids could indicate SARS-CoV-2 invasion. The pathway analysis identified several pathways influenced by SARS-CoV-2 infection. Of these, sugar, glycan, and amino acid metabolisms were the key altered pathways in the upper respiratory channel during infection. These findings provide some new insights into the progression of SARS-CoV-2 infection in ferrets at the metabolic level which could be useful for the development of early clinical diagnosis tools and new or repurposed drug therapies.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202206.0306.v1
Subject: Engineering, General Engineering Keywords: data privacy; animal behaviour; deep learning; distributed learning; client-drift; gradient conflicts
Online: 22 June 2022 (06:08:13 CEST)
Deep learning dominates automated animal activity recognition (AAR) tasks due to the high performance on large-scale datasets. However, constructing centralised data across diverse farms raises data privacy issues. Federated learning (FL) provides a distributed learning solution to train a shared model by coordinating multiple farms (clients) without sharing their private data. Whereas directly applying FL to AAR tasks often faces two challenges: client-drift during local training and gradient conflicts during global aggregation. In this study, we develop a novel FL framework called FedAAR to achieve AAR with sensor data. Specifically, we devise a prototype-guided local update module to alleviate the client-drift issue, which introduces global prototypes as shared knowledge to force clients to learn consistent features. To reduce gradient conflicts between clients, we design a gradient refinement-based aggregation module to eliminate conflicting components between client gradients during global aggregation, thereby improving the agreement between clients. Experiments are conducted on a public dataset to verify FedAAR’s effectiveness, which consists of 87,621 2-s motion data. The results demonstrate that FedAAR outperforms state-of-the-arts, with precision (75.23%), recall (75.17%), F1-score (74.70%), and accuracy (88.88%), respectively. The ablation experiments also show FedAAR’s robustness against various factors (i.e., different data sizes, communication frequency, and client numbers).
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0454.v2
Subject: Engineering, Other Keywords: food waste recovery; maggot production; environmental protection; animal feed; solid waste management
Online: 24 January 2022 (14:16:03 CET)
Waste recovery is an important aspect towards human and environmental health protection. Unfortunately, proper food waste management is among the serious challenges in the field of solid waste management worldwide. Therefore, it is of great importance to conduct studies towards achieving efficient and cost-effective approaches for food waste management. This study investigated the potential of recovering food waste through maggots’ production as animal feed. The influence of fly attractant application on maggot production was also investigated. The study also investigated the potential of maggot production for waste recovery and reduction. Four different types of food waste (starch food leftovers, rotten bananas and peels, rotten pineapple and peels, and rotten oranges) were used in the investigation process. From the results, it was observed that the application of fly attractants had a significant effect on the production of maggots as determined by the weights after harvesting. Average weight of 94 g/kg of maggot was achieved from banana materials with an application of fly attractant during the 8th day of the cultivation; which is equivalent to a 32.4% increase from the same day when the material was cultured without applying fly attractant. Also, from the starch materials, about 77 g/kg of maggot weight was achieved; which is a 54.6% increase from the same day and the same material but without application of fly attractant. Moreover, the relative dry weight reduction in the trials varied from 52.5% to 82.4%.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0405.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: animal welfare; pigs; deep learning; computer vision; stress detection; facial expression recognition
Online: 19 August 2021 (13:17:08 CEST)
Animal welfare is not only an ethically important consideration in good animal husbandry, but can also have a significant effect on an animal’s productivity. The aim of this paper is to show that a reduction in animal welfare, in the form of increased stress, can be identified in pigs from frontal images of the animals. We train a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) using a leave-one-out design and show that it is able to discriminate between stressed and unstressed pigs with an accuracy of >90% in unseen animals. Grad-CAM is used to identify the animal regions used, and these support those used in manual assessments such as the Pig Grimace Scale. This innovative work paves the way for further work examining both positive and negative welfare states with a view to the development of an automated system that can be used in precision livestock farming to improve animal welfare.
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: Animal model; COVID-19; ferret; lipidomics; metabolomics; SARS-CoV-2; systems biology
Online: 11 May 2021 (10:20:03 CEST)
COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory disease that is causing significant global morbidity and mortality. Understanding the impact of a SARS-CoV-2 infection on the host metabolism is still in its infancy but of great importance. Herein, we investigated the metabolic response during viral shedding and post-shedding in an asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 ferret model (n=6) challenged with two SARS-CoV-2 isolates. Virological and metabolic analyses were performed on (minimally invasive) collected oral swabs, rectal swabs, and nasal washes. Fragments of SARS-CoV-2 RNA were only found in the nasal wash samples in four of the six ferrets, and in the samples collected 3 to 9 days post-infection (referred to as viral shedding). Central carbon metabolism metabolites were analyzed during viral shedding and post-shedding periods using a dynamic MRM (dMRM) database and method. Subsequent untargeted metabolomics and lipidomics of the same samples were performed using an LC-QToF-MS methodology, building upon the identified differentiated central carbon metabolism metabolites. Multivariate analysis of the acquired data identified 29 significant metabolites and three lipids that were subjected to pathway enrichment and impact analysis. The presence of viral shedding coincided with the challenge dose administered and significant changes in the citric acid cycle, purine metabolism, and pentose phosphate pathways, amongst others, in the host nasal wash samples. An elevated immune response in the host was also observed between the two isolates studied. These results support other reported metabolomic-based findings found in clinical observational studies and indicate the utility of metabolomics applied to ferrets for further COVID-19 research that advances early diagnosis of asymptomatic and mild clinical COVID-19 infections, in addition to assessing the effectiveness of new or re-purposed drug therapies.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0425.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: Empathy; comparative thanatology; cognitive biases; animal ethics; mentaphobia; primates; elephants; birds; robot
Online: 16 November 2020 (14:23:45 CET)
Anthropomorphism is a natural tendency in humans, but it is also influenced by many characteristics of the observer (the human) and the observed entity (here, the animal species). This study asked participants to complete an online questionnaire about three videos showing epimeletic behaviours in three animal species. In the videos, an individual (a sparrow, an elephant and a macaque, respectively) displayed behaviours towards an inanimate conspecific that suddenly regained consciousness at the end of the footage. A fourth video showed a robot dog being kicked by an engineer to demonstrate its stability. Each video was followed by a series of questions designed to evaluate the degree of anthropomorphism of participants, from mentaphobia (no attribution of intentions and beliefs, whatever the animal species) to full anthropomorphism (full attribution of intentions and beliefs by animals, to the same extent as in humans) and to measure how far the participants had correctly assessed each situation in terms of biological reality (current scientific knowledge of each species). There is a negative correlation (about 61%) between the mental states attributed to animals by humans to animals and the real capability of animals. The heterogeneity of responses proved that humans display different forms of anthropomorphism, from rejecting all emotional or intentional states in animals to considering animals to show the same intentions as humans. However, the scores participants attributed to animals differed according to the species shown in the video and to human sociodemographic characteristics. Understanding the potential usefulness of these factors can lead to better relationships with animals and encourage a positive view of human-robot interactions. Indeed, reflective or critical anthropomorphism can increase our humanity.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0711.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Cognitive & Experimental Psychology Keywords: Empathy; comparative thanatology; cognitive biases; animal ethics; mentaphobia; primates; elephants; birds; robot
Online: 31 August 2020 (06:13:03 CEST)
In this study, we asked participants to answer an online questionnaire about videos showing animal epimeletic behaviours: an individual (a sparrow, an elephant and a macaque) displayed behaviours towards an inanimate conspecific who suddenly got back to conscious at the end of the footage. A fourth video showed a dog-robot kicked by an engineer to demonstrate its stability. After each video, questions were asked to score the degree of anthropomorphism of participants, from mentophobia (no attribution whatever the species) to full anthropomorphism and to measure how close participants are to biological reality (actual scientific knowledge). A first important result is that there is a negative correlation (about 61%) between the anthropomorphism score (AS) and the biological reality one (BRS) showing a wrong statement. The heterogeneity of responses proved that all levels of anthropomorphism are covered from mentaphobia to full anthropomorphism. However, the scores participants attributed to animals differ according to the species shown in the video and to human characteristics. Understanding how one can play with these factors can conduct to better relationships with animals as encourage human-robot interactions. Finally, such reflective anthropomorphism can lead to an increase of human empathy and sociality, finally increasing our humanity.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0363.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Ophthalmology Keywords: Ocular Surface; Tear Film; Albumin; Pharmacology; Animal Models; Translational Research; One Health
Online: 23 May 2020 (05:59:39 CEST)
Preclinical animal studies provide valuable opportunities to better understand human diseases and contribute to major advances in medicine. This review provides a comprehensive overview of ocular parameters in humans and selected animals, with a focus on the ocular surface, detailing species differences in ocular surface anatomy, physiology, tear film dynamics and tear film composition. We describe major pitfalls that tremendously limit the translational potential of traditional laboratory animals (ie., rabbits, mice and rats) in ophthalmic research, and highlight the benefits of integrating companion dogs with clinical analogues to human diseases into preclinical pharmacology studies. This One Health approach can help accelerate and improve the framework in which ophthalmic research is translated to the human clinic. Studies can be conducted in canine subjects with naturally occurring or non-invasively induced ocular surface disorders (eg., dry eye disease, conjunctivitis), reviewed herein, and tear fluid can be easily retrieved from canine eyes for various bioanalytical purposes. In this review, we discuss common tear collection methods, including capillary tubes and Schirmer tear strips, and provide guidelines for tear sampling and extraction to improve the reliability of analyte quantification (drugs, proteins, others).
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0048.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: Duchenne muscular dystrophy; CRISPR; animal models; in vivo testing; dystrophin; mutant generation
Online: 4 March 2020 (04:58:48 CET)
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a fatal X-linked recessive neuromuscular disorder most commonly caused by mutations disrupting the reading frame of the dystrophin (DMD) gene. DMD codes for dystrophin, which is critical for maintaining the integrity of muscle cell membranes. Without dystrophin, muscle cells receive heightened mechanical stress, becoming more susceptible to damage. An active body of research continues to explore therapeutic treatments for DMD as well as to further our understanding of the disease. These efforts rely on having reliable animal models that accurately recapitulate disease presentation in humans. While current animal models of DMD have served this purpose quite well, each comes with their own limitations. To help overcome this, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-based technology has been extremely useful in creating novel animal models for DMD. This review focuses on animal models developed for DMD that have been created using CRISPR, their advantages and disadvantages as well as their applications in the DMD field.
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints201911.0379.v2
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: animal nocardiosis; Nocardia; veterinary mycology; actinomycetes; Russian Federation; pet; dermatitis; Nocardia asteroides
Online: 3 December 2019 (12:15:22 CET)
Two cases of cutaneous nocardiosis in a cat and in a dog have been described. Diagnosis was made on basis of direct microscopy and cultural mycological analysis. Phenotypic characteristics of two indigenous Nocardia strains are presented. The strain isolated from cat was presumably identified as N. asteroids. There have been no reports of suchlike cases in pets in Russia so far.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201910.0121.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: alphavirus; vaccine; arbovirus; animal models; nonhuman primates; electrocardiography; ecg; aerosol; encephalitis; equine
Online: 11 October 2019 (03:32:33 CEST)
Eastern (EEEV) and Venezuelan (VEEV) equine encephalitis viruses (EEVs) are related, (+)ssRNA arboviruses that can cause severe, sometimes fatal, encephalitis in humans. EEVs are highly infectious when aerosolized, raising concerns for potential use as biological weapons. No licensed medical countermeasures exist; given the severity/rarity of natural EEV infections, efficacy studies require animal models. Cynomolgus macaques exposed to EEV aerosols develop fever, encephalitis, and other clinical signs similar to humans. Fever is nonspecific for encephalitis in macaques. Electrocardiography (ECG) metrics may predict onset, severity, or outcome of EEV-attributable disease. Macaques were implanted with thermometry/ECG radiotransmitters and exposed to aerosolized EEV. Data was collected continuously, and repeated-measures ANOVA and frequency-spectrum analyses identified differences between courses of illness and between pre-exposure and post-exposure states. EEEV-infected macaques manifested widened QRS-intervals in severely ill subjects post-exposure. Moreover, QT-intervals and RR-intervals decreased during the febrile period. VEEV-infected macaques suffered decreased QT-intervals and RR-intervals with fever onset. Frequency-spectrum analyses revealed differences in the fundamental frequencies of multiple metrics in the post-exposure and febrile periods compared to baseline and confirmed circadian dysfunction. Heart rate variability (HRV) analyses revealed diminished variability post-exposure. These analyses support using ECG data alongside fever and clinical laboratory findings for evaluating medical countermeasure efficacy.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0300.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: medulloblastoma; TP53 mutation; molecular classification; diagnostics; liquid biopsy; animal models; transcriptome; precision oncology
Online: 16 December 2022 (08:47:35 CET)
A recent paradigm shift in diagnostics of medulloblastoma allows the distinction of four major groups defined by genetic data rather than histology. This new molecular classification correlates better with prognosis and will allow better clinical management for therapies targeting druggable mutations, but also offers a new combination of monitoring tumor development in real-time and treatment response by sequential liquid biopsy. This review highlights recent developments after a century of milestones in neurosurgery, radio- and chemotherapy, but also controversial theories on the cell of origin, animal models and the use of liquid biopsy.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0099.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: Genetic parameters, (Co)variance components, Mecheri sheep, Animal models, Maternal genetic influence, Inbreeding
Online: 6 December 2022 (10:03:11 CET)
Determining genetic and non-genetic sources of variation in a breed is vital for the formulation of strategies for its conservation and improvement. The present study was aimed at estimating the (co)variance components and genetic parameters of Mecheri sheep by fitting six different animal models in the restricted maximum likelihood method, with a preliminary investigation on the performance of animals for non-genetic sources of variation. A total of 2616 lambs were studied, and varying levels of significance were found for the effect of period, season, parity of dam and birth type on different body weight traits. Direct heritability estimates derived from the best animal model for body weight at birth, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months were 0.21, 0.24, 0.10, 0.15 and 0.09, respectively, and maternal heritabilities of the corresponding traits were 0.12, 0.05, 0.04, 0.04 and 0.04, respectively. The genetic correlations between body weight traits were all positive and moderate to strong except for birth weight with the other body weight traits. The significance of non-genetic factors studied in this work demanded a correction to improve the accuracy of the direct selection of lambs for body weight traits. The estimated genetic parameters identified the weaning weight as a selection criterion for the improvement in body weight of Mecheri lambs at different ages. Inbred individuals accounted for approximately 13% of the total population in the Mecheri sheep population studied. There were 877 founders in the population, and the actual effective size of the population was 128.48. The population's mean generation interval was 3.26. The mean inbreeding values ranged from 0.005 to 0.010 across generations. The population's average relatedness ranged from 0.001 to 0.014 across generations. Individual inbreeding was found to be 0.45 per cent for the entire population and 3.4 per cent for the inbred population.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0194.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pharmacology & Toxicology Keywords: biosimilar; analytical assessment; animal testing; clinical pharmacology; clinical efficacy; FDA; EMA; MHRA; WHO
Online: 10 August 2022 (05:19:49 CEST)
Scientific, technical and bioinformatics advances have made it possible to establish analytics-based molecular biosimilarity for the approval of biosimilars. If the molecular structure and other product- and process-related attributes are comparable within the limits of testing then a biosimilar candidate would have safe safety and efficacy as its reference products. The current model of animal and human testing becomes redundant since all of these studies have much lower sensitivity and reproducibility in confirming biosimilarity. The recent AI-based protein structure prediction model has confirmed that the 3D structure can be predicted from the amino acid sequence, reducing the need for structural analysis; however, the new test methods based on MS are millions of times more sensitive and accurate. While the regulatory agencies have begun waiving animal testing and, in some cases, clinical efficacy testing, removing clinical pharmacology profiling brings a dramatic paradigm shift, reducing development costs without compromising safety and efficacy. Also shared is a list of 160+ products ready to enter as biosimilars. Major actions from regulatory agencies and developers are required to make this paradigm shift.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0394.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: animal growth performance; carcass traits; economic returns; Nguni cattle heifers; spineless cactus diets
Online: 30 May 2022 (11:17:32 CEST)
In an attempt to improve free-range beef cattle herds and explore the economic viability of utilizing Opuntia ficus-indica (spineless cactus) cladodes as supplementary feed, we investigated the impact of cactus diets on animal growth performance and carcass characteristics of Nguni cattle heifers. Four dietary treatments were randomly assigned to 32 heifers aged 24-months, weighing on average 172.2±27.1 kg, with each dietary treatment replicated to 8 individually penned heifers for 90 days. The dietary treatments were control diet (pasture-based energy + protein sources), 10% cactus diet, 20% cactus diet and commercial diet (crop-based energy and commercial protein source). The heifers fed commercial and control diets attained significantly (P < 0.05) higher dry matter intake, average daily gains, fat thickness, carcass conformation scores and lower feed conversion ratio than those fed cactus diets. However, the final body weight gains, slaughter and carcass weights, rib-eye muscle area and meat pH45 min and 24h were comparable (P > 0.05) between heifers fed cactus diets and those fed commercial and control diets. The 10 and 20% cactus diets had greater gross margins (P < 0.05) of R278.6 and R296.9, respectively than the other diets, due largely to reduced total variable costs. The comparability of carcass traits of heifers fed cactus diets and those fed non-cactus diets as well as higher economic returns from cactus inclusion warrants the use of cactus diets, particularly during drought when commercial feed prices rise.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0162.v1
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: air pollution control; biosecurity; animal diseases; ultraviolet light; advanced oxidation; filtration; environmental technology
Online: 11 October 2021 (14:05:44 CEST)
This study evaluated the use of filtration and UV-A photocatalysis for the reduction of particulate matter (PM) and airborne bacterial pathogens in swine barns. Two MERV filters (8 and 15) were used to mitigate PM concentrations measured at the PM 1, PM 2.5, respirable PM, and PM 10 ranges. Filtration was also used to generate different levels of airborne pathogens to be treated by UV-A. Results show that MERV 8 and 15 filters effectively reduced PM concentrations (96-98%) in air exhausted from a swine barn (p ranged from < 0.01 to 0.04). UV-A photocatalysis did not mitigate PM concentrations. UV-A photocatalysis treatment reduced measured colony-forming units (CFUs) by 15-95%. The CFU percent reduction was higher when airborne PM concentration was low. The numeric results suggested a real mitigation effect despite p-values that did not meet the usual statistical cut-off of <0.05 for significance due to the large variability of the CFU control samples. Normalization of measured airborne pathogen concentrations by smaller PM size range concentrations led to emerging significant treatment differences for CFUs. A significant decrease (~60% reduction; p < 0.03) in the concentration of viable airborne bacteria was shown for all PM below the 10-micron range.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0738.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: posterior capsule opacification, experimental studies, cell cultures, tissue cultures, animal model of PCO
Online: 28 April 2021 (10:08:38 CEST)
Posterior capsule opacification (PCO) is the most common complication of cataract surgery. It causes a gradual deterioration of visual acuity, which would otherwise remain improved after a successful procedure. Despite recent advances in ophthalmology, this complication has not been eradicated and the incidence of PCO can be as high as 10%. This article reviews the literature concerning the pathomechanism of PCO and examines the biochemical pathways involved in its formation and methods to prevent this complication. We also review the reported tests performed in cell cultures under laboratory conditions, in experimental animal models, and in ex vivo human lens capsules. Finally, we describe research involving human eyes in the clinical setting and pharmacological methods that may reduce the frequency of PCO. Due to the multifactorial eti-ology of PCO, in vitro studies make it possible to assess the factors contributing to its complica-tions and search for new therapeutic targets. Not all pathways involved in cell proliferation, mi-gration, and contraction of the lens capsule are reproducible in laboratory conditions; moreover, PCO in humans and laboratory animals may be additionally stimulated by various degrees of postoperative reactions depending on the course of surgery. Therefore, further studies are necessary.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202010.0526.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Algebra & Number Theory Keywords: audio classification; dissimilarity space; siamese network; ensemble of classifiers; pattern recognition; animal audio
Online: 26 October 2020 (13:57:01 CET)
The classifier system proposed in this work combines the dissimilarity spaces produced by a set of Siamese neural networks (SNNs) designed using 4 different backbones, with different clustering techniques for training SVMs for automated animal audio classification. The system is evaluated on two animal audio datasets: one for cat and another for bird vocalizations. Different clustering methods reduce the spectrograms in the dataset to a set of centroids that generate (in both a supervised and unsupervised fashion) the dissimilarity space through the Siamese networks. In addition to feeding the SNNs with spectrograms, additional experiments process the spectrograms using the Heterogeneous Auto-Similarities of Characteristics. Once the similarity spaces are computed, a vector space representation of each pattern is generated that is then trained on a Support Vector Machine (SVM) to classify a spectrogram by its dissimilarity vector. Results demonstrate that the proposed approach performs competitively (without ad-hoc optimization of the clustering methods) on both animal vocalization datasets. To further demonstrate the power of the proposed system, the best stand-alone approach is also evaluated on the challenging Dataset for Environmental Sound Classification (ESC50) dataset. The MATLAB code used in this study is available at https://github.com/LorisNanni.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0528.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: In vitro; in vivo; animal model; Malassezia; infection; host-pathogen interaction; Galleria mellonella
Online: 22 July 2020 (11:34:57 CEST)
Malassezia is a lipid-dependent genus of yeasts known for being an important part of the skin mycobiota. These yeasts have been associated in the development of skin disorders and cataloged as a causal agent of systemic infections under specific conditions, making them opportunistic pathogens. Little is known about the host-microbe interaction of Malassezia spp., and unraveling this implies the implementation of infection models. In this mini review we present different models that have been implemented in the fungal infections study with greater attention in Malassezia spp. infections. These models range from in vitro (cell cultures and ex vivo tissue), to in vivo (murine models, rabbits, guinea pigs, insects, nematodes, and amoebas). We additionally highlight the alternative models that reduce the use of mammals as model organisms, which have been gaining importance in the study of fungal host-microbe interactions. This is due to the fact that these systems have shown to have reliable results, which correlate with those obtained from mammalian models. Example of alternative models are Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster, Tenebrio molitor, and Galleria mellonella. These are invertebrates that have been implemented in the study of Malassezia spp. infections in order to identify differences in virulence between Malassezia species.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0295.v2
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: Aaerial survey; animal detection; distance sampling; helicopter; monitoring; strip transect; Svalbard; total count; ungulate
Online: 2 December 2022 (03:36:25 CET)
Conservation of wildlife depends on precise and unbiased knowledge on the abundance and distribution of species. It is challenging to choose appropriate methods to obtain a sufficiently high detectability and spatial coverage matching the species characteristics and spatiotemporal use of the landscape. In remote regions, such as in the Arctic, monitoring efforts are often resource-intensive and there is a need for cheap and precise alternative methods. Here, we compare an uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV; quadcopter) pilot-survey of the non-gregarious Svalbard reindeer to traditional population abundance surveys from ground and helicopter to investigate whether UAVs can be an efficient alternative technology. We found that the UAV survey underestimated reindeer abundance compared to the traditional abundance surveys when used at management relevant spatial scales. Observer variation in reindeer detection on UAV imagery was influenced by the RGB greenness index and mean blue channel. In future studies, we suggest to test long-range fixed-wing UAVs to increase the sample size of reindeer and area coverage and incorporate detection probability in animal density models from UAV imagery. In addition, we encourage focus on more efficient post-processing techniques, including automatic animal object identification with machine learning and analytical methods that account for uncertainties.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0397.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: biosimilars; regulatory process; animal studies; clinical efficacy testing; interchangeability; FDA; EMA; MHRA; MENA; cGMP
Online: 26 October 2022 (03:58:16 CEST)
Biological drugs are inaccessible to more than 80% of the world population due mainly to their high costs; this is a significant concern of the World Health Organization. Biosimilars are supposed to reduce the cost burden, but their approval process is complex, including expensive and irrelevant studies. While the Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRAs) have adopted the guidance of the FDA or EMA, such adoptions are neither necessary nor practical for the rest of the world (ROW). We present a science-driven, rational approach to formulate regulatory guidelines that will enable faster biosimilars' entry into the ROW without compromising their safety and efficacy. The key recommendations include removing animal and safety efficacy testing, making analytical assessment more robust, and cGMP compliance assured through third-party audits. The ROW countries are also recommended to initiate a rapporteur system available in the EU, to overcome the biases and assure state-of-the-science evaluation as the common understanding of the critical quality attributes evolves. It is anticipated that stronger regional agencies like those in the MENA region, with the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will help propel the idea faster across the globe.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0319.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: YOLOv4; Faster RCNN; Deep-SORT; pig posture detection; object tracking; greenhouse gas; animal welfare
Online: 21 October 2021 (23:06:30 CEST)
Pig behavior is an integral part of health and welfare management, as pigs usually reflect their inner emotions through behavior change. The livestock environment plays a key role in pigs' health and wellbeing. A poor farm environment increases the toxic GHGs, which might deteriorate pigs' health and welfare. In this study a computer-vision-based automatic monitoring and tracking model was proposed to detect short-term pigs' physical activities in a compromised environment. The ventilators of the livestock barn were closed for an hour, three times in a day (07:00-08:00, 13:00-14:00, and 20:00-21:00) to create a compromised environment, which increases the GHGs level significantly. The corresponding pig activities were observed before, during, and after an hour of the treatment. Two widely used object detection models (YOLOv4 and Fast-er R-CNN) were trained and compared their performances in terms of pig localization and posture detection. The YOLOv4, which outperformed the Faster R-CNN model, coupled with a Deep-SORT tracking algorithm to detect and track the pig activities. The results showed that the pigs became more inactive with the increase in GHG concentration, reducing their standing and walking activities. Moreover, the pigs also shortened their sternal-lying posture increasing the lateral lying posture duration at higher GHG concentration. The high detection accuracy (mAP: 98.67%) and tracking accuracy (MOTA: 93.86% and MOTP: 82.41%) signify the models’ efficacy in monitoring and tracking pigs' physical activities non-invasively.
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0767.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: evidential integration; causal explanation; early animal evolution; phylogenetics; macroevolution; evolutionary scenario; cross-disciplinary research
Online: 31 May 2021 (12:25:44 CEST)
Molecular methods have revolutionised virtually every area of biology, and metazoan phylogenetics is no exception: molecular phylogenies, molecular clocks, comparative phylogenomics, and developmental genetics have collectively transformed our understanding of the evolutionary history of animals. Moreover, the diversity of methods and models within molecular phylogenetics has resulted in significant disagreement among molecular phylogenies as well as between these and traditional phylogenies. Here, I argue that tackling this multifaceted problem lies in integrating evidence to infer the best evolutionary scenario. I begin with an overview of recent developments in early metazoan phylogenetics, followed by a discussion of key conceptual issues in phylogenetics revolving around phylogenetic evidence and theory. I then argue that integration of different kinds of evidence is necessary for arriving at the best evolutionary scenario rather than the best-fitting cladogram. Finally, I discuss the prospects of this view in stimulating interdisciplinary cross-talk in early metazoan research and beyond.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0379.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: heat stress; farm animal; pig; livestock; global warming; climate change; risk assessment; economic impact
Online: 15 December 2020 (12:35:35 CET)
In the last decades farm animals kept in confined and mechanically ventilated livestock buildings are increasingly confronted with heat stress (HS) due to global warming. These adverse conditions cause a depression of animal health and welfare and a reduction of the performance up to an increase of the mortality. To facilitate sound management decisions, livestock farmers need relevant arguments, which quantify the expected economic risk and the corresponding uncertainty. The economic risk was determined for the pig fattening sector based on the probability of HS and the calculated decrease in the gross margin. The model calculation for confined livestock buildings showed, that HS indices calculated by easily available meteorological parameters can be used for assessment quantification of indoor HS, which is so far difficult to determine. These weather-related HS indices can be applied not only for an economic risk assessment but also for a weather-index based insurance for livestock farms. Based on the temporal trend between 1981 and 2017, a simple model was derived to assess the likelihood of HS for 2020 and 2030. Due to global warming, the return period for a 90-percentile HS index is reduced from 10 years in 2020 to 3-4 years in 2030. The economic impact of HS on livestock farms was calculated by the relationship between an HS index based on the temperature-humidity index (THI) and the reduction of the gross margin. From the likelihood of the HS and this economic impact function, the probability of the economic risk could be determined. The reduction of the gross margin for a 10 year return period was determined for 1980 with 0.27 € per year and animal place and increased by the 20-fold to 5.13 € per year and animal place in 2030.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0634.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: bovine TB; risk factors; disease control; animal health policy; veterinary epidemiology; evidence-based policy
Online: 28 August 2020 (11:25:31 CEST)
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) outbreaks, caused by Mycobacterium bovis infection, are a costly animal health challenge. Understanding factors associated with the duration of outbreaks, known as breakdowns, could lead to better disease management policy development. We undertook a retrospective observational study (2012-2018) and employed Finite Mixture Models (FMM) to model the outcome parameter, and to investigate how factors were associated with duration for differing subpopulations identified. In addition to traditional risk factors (e.g. herd size, bTB history), we also explored farm geographic area, parcels/farm fragmentation, metrics of intensity via nitrogen loading, and whether herds were designated controlled beef finishing units (CBFU) as potential risk factors for increased duration. The final model fitted log-normal distributions, with two latent classes (k) which partitioned the population into a subpopulation around the central tendency of the distribution, and a second around the tails of the distribution. The latter subpopulation included longer breakdowns of policy interest. Increasing duration was positively associated with recent (<3 yrs) TB history and the number of reactors disclosed, (log) herd size, beef herd-type relative to other herd types, number of land parcels, area, and being designated a controlled finishing unit (“feedlot”), and having high annual inward cattle movements within the “tails” subpopulation. Breakdown length was negatively associated with year of commencement of breakdown (i.e. a decreasing trend) and non-significantly with the organic nitrogen produced on the farm (N kg/hectare), a measure of stocking density. The latter finding may be due to confounding effects with herd size and area. Most variables contributed only moderately to explaining variation in breakdown duration, that is, they had moderate size effects on duration. Herd-size and CBFU had greater effect sizes on the outcome. The findings contribute to evidence-based policy formation in Ireland.