Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Genetics and Molecular Biology]]> http://www.scielo.br/rss.php?pid=1415-475720110002&lang=en vol. 34 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.br/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.br <![CDATA[<b>Bernardo Beiguelman (1932-2010)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<b>A.N. Kolmogorov's defence of Mendelism</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In 1939 N.I. Ermolaeva published the results of an experiment which repeated parts of Mendel's classical experiments. On the basis of her experiment she concluded that Mendel's principle that self-pollination of hybrid plants gave rise to segregation proportions 3:1 was false. The great probability theorist A.N. Kolmogorov reviewed Ermolaeva's data using a test, now referred to as Kolmogorov's, or Kolmogorov-Smirnov, test, which he had proposed in 1933. He found, contrary to Ermolaeva, that her results clearly confirmed Mendel's principle. This paper shows that there were methodological flaws in Kolmogorov's statistical analysis and presents a substantially adjusted approach, which confirms his conclusions. Some historical commentary on the Lysenko-era background is given, to illuminate the relationship of the disciplines of genetics and statistics in the struggle against the prevailing politically-correct pseudoscience in the Soviet Union. There is a Brazilian connection through the person of Th. Dobzhansky. <![CDATA[<b>Mendelian breeding units versus standard sampling strategies</b>: <b>mitochondrial DNA variation in southwest Sardinia</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en We report a sampling strategy based on Mendelian Breeding Units (MBUs), representing an interbreeding group of individuals sharing a common gene pool. The identification of MBUs is crucial for case-control experimental design in association studies. The aim of this work was to evaluate the possible existence of bias in terms of genetic variability and haplogroup frequencies in the MBU sample, due to severe sample selection. In order to reach this goal, the MBU sampling strategy was compared to a standard selection of individuals according to their surname and place of birth. We analysed mitochondrial DNA variation (first hypervariable segment and coding region) in unrelated healthy subjects from two different areas of Sardinia: the area around the town of Cabras and the western Campidano area. No statistically significant differences were observed when the two sampling methods were compared, indicating that the stringent sample selection needed to establish a MBU does not alter original genetic variability and haplogroup distribution. Therefore, the MBU sampling strategy can be considered a useful tool in association studies of complex traits. <![CDATA[<b>Three novel </b><b>α</b><b>-L-iduronidase mutations in 10 unrelated Chinese mucopolysaccharidosis type I families</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I) arises from a deficiency in the α-L-iduronidase (IDUA) enzyme. Although the clinical spectrum in MPS I patients is continuous, it was possible to recognize 3 phenotypes reflecting the severity of symptoms, viz., the Hurler, Scheie and Hurler/Scheie syndromes. In this study, 10 unrelated Chinese MPS I families (nine Hurler and one Hurler/Scheie) were investigated, and 16 mutant alleles were identified. Three novel mutations in IDUA genes, one missense p.R363H (c.1088G > A) and two splice-site mutations (c.1190-1G > A and c.792+1G > T), were found. Notably, 45% (nine out of 20) and 30% (six out of 20) of the mutant alleles in the 10 families studied were c.1190-1G > A and c.792+1G > T, respectively. The novel missense mutation p.R363H was transiently expressed in CHO cells, and showed retention of 2.3% IDUA activity. Neither p.W402X nor p.Q70X associated with the Hurler phenotype, or even p.R89Q associated with the Scheie phenotype, was found in this group. Finally, it was noted that the Chinese MPS I patients proved to be characterized with a unique set of IDUA gene mutations, not only entirely different from those encountered among Europeans and Americans, but also apparently not even the same as those found in other Asian countries. <![CDATA[<b><i>RUNX2</i></b><b> mutations in Taiwanese patients with cleidocranial dysplasia</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD) is an autosomal dominant human skeletal disorder comprising hypoplastic clavicles, wide cranial sutures, supernumerary teeth, short stature, and other skeletal abnormalities. It is known that mutations in the human RUNX2 gene mapped at 6p21 are responsible for CCD. We analyzed the mutation patterns of the RUNX2 gene by direct sequencing in six Taiwanese index cases with typical CCD. One of the patients was a familial case and the others were sporadic cases. Sequencing identified four mutations. Three were caused by single nucleotide substitutions, which created a nonsense (p.R391X), two were missense mutations (p.R190W, p.R225Q), and the forth was a novel mutation (c.1119delC), a one-base deletion. Real time quantitative PCR adapted to determine copy numbers of the promoter, all exons and the 3'UTR region of the RUNX2 gene detected the deletion of a single allele in a sporadic case. The results extend the spectrum of RUNX2 mutations in CCD patients and indicate that complete deletions of the RUNX2 gene should be considered in those CCD patients lacking a point mutation detected by direct sequencing. <![CDATA[<b>Obesity and variants of the <i>GHRL</i> (ghrelin) and <i>BCHE</i> (butyrylcholinesterase) genes</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Ghrelin coded by the GHRL gene is related to weight-gain, its deactivation possibly depending on its hydrolyzation by butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) encoded by the BCHE gene, an enzyme already associated with the body mass index (BMI). The aim was to search for relationships between SNPs of the GHRL and BCHE genes with BChE activity, BMI and obesity in 144 obese and 153 nonobese Euro-Brazilian male blood donors. In the obese individuals, a significant association with higher BChE activity, in the 72LM+72MM; -116GG genotype class (GHRL and BCHE genes, respectively) was noted. No significant differences were found otherwise, through comparisons between obese and control individuals, of genotype and allele frequencies in SNPs of the GHRL gene (Arg51Gln and Leu72Met), or mean BMI between 72LL and 72LM+72MM genotypes. Although there appears to be no direct relationship between the examined GHRL SNPs and BMI, the association of the 72M SNP with higher BChE activity in obese subjects probably points to a regulatory mechanism, thereby implying the influence of the GHRL gene on BChE expression, and a consequential metabolic role in the complex process of fat utilization. <![CDATA[<b>Karyotypic conservatism in samples of <i>Characidium</i> cf. <i>zebra</i> (Teleostei, Characiformes, Crenuchidae)</b>: <b>physical mapping of ribosomal genes and natural triploidy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Basic and molecular cytogenetic analyses were performed in specimens of Characidium cf. zebra from five collection sites located throughout the Tietê, Paranapanema and Paraguay river basins. The diploid number in specimens from all samples was 2n = 50 with a karyotype composed of 32 metacentric and 18 submetacentric chromosomes in both males and females. Constitutive heterochromatin was present at the centromeric regions of all chromosomes and pair 23, had additional interstitial heterochromatic blocks on its long arms. The nucleolar organizer regions (NORs) were located on the long arms of pair 23, while the 5S rDNA sites were detected in different chromosomes among the studied samples. One specimen from the Alambari river was a natural triploid and had two extra chromosomes, resulting in 2n = 77. The remarkable karyotypic similarity among the specimens of C. cf. zebra suggests a close evolutionary relationship. On the other hand, the distinct patterns of 5S rDNA distribution may be the result of gene flow constraints during their evolutionary history. <![CDATA[<b>Comparative cytogenetic analysis of two grasshopper species of the tribe Abracrini (Ommatolampinae, Acrididae)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The grasshopper species Orthoscapheus rufipes and Eujivarus fusiformis were analyzed using several cytogenetic techniques. The karyotype of O. rufipes, described here for the first time, had a diploid number of 2n = 23, whereas E. fusiformis had a karyotype with 2n = 21. The two species showed the same mechanism of sex determination (XO type) but differed in chromosome morphology. Pericentromeric blocks of constitutive heterochromatin (CH) were detected in the chromosome complement of both species. CMA3/DA/DAPI staining revealed CMA3-positive blocks in CH regions in four autosomal bivalents of O. rufipes and in two of E. fusiformis. The location of active NORs differed between the two species, occurring in bivalents M6 and S9 of O. rufipes and M6 and M7 of E. fusiformsi. The rDNA sites revealed by FISH coincided with the number and position of the active NORs detected by AgNO3 staining. The variability in chromosomal markers accounted for the karyotype differentiation observed in the tribe Abracrini. <![CDATA[<b>Intraspecific crosses resulting in the first occurrence of eight and nine B chromosomes in <i>Prochilodus lineatus</i> (Characiformes, Prochilodontidae)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en B chromosomes are supernumerary elements present in about 15% of eukaryotic species and are most frequently heterochromatic, behave parasitically, show a transmission rate higher than standard (A) chromosomes, and can provoke harmful effects on carriers. In the current work, Prochilodus lineatus individuals carrying eight and nine B chromosomes were obtained by induced crossing performed involving breeders with different B chromosome numbers in their cells. The high B chromosome numbers found in the offspring were recorded for the first time in this species. The use of cytogenetic techniques applied in the present study revealed that regardless of the increase in number of B chromosomes in the genome of these individuals, those elements did not presented active genes, and showed their normal heterochromatic characteristic. <![CDATA[<b>Genetic parameters and relationships between growth traits and scrotal circumference measured at different ages in Nellore cattle</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Records from 106,212 Nellore animals, born between 1998 and 2006, were used to estimate (co)variance components and genetic parameters for birth weight (BW), average weight gains from birth to weaning (GBW), average weight gains from weaning to after yearling (GWAY), weaning hip height (WHH), postweaning hip height (PHH) and scrotal circumferences at 9 (SC9), 12 (SC12) and 15 (SC15) months of age. (Co)variance components were estimated by an animal model using multi-trait analysis. Heritability estimates for BW, GBW, GWAY, WHH, PHH, SC9, SC12 and SC15 were 0.31 ± 0.01; 0.25 ± 0.02; 0.30 ± 0.04; 0.51 ± 0.04; 0.54 ± 0.04; 0.39 ± 0.01; 0.41 ± 0.01 and 0.44 ± 0.02, respectively. Genetic correlations between growth traits ranged from 0.09 ± 0.01 to 0.88 ± 0.01, thereby implying that, at any age, selection to increase average weight gains will also increase stature. Genetic correlations between BW and average weight gains with scrotal circumferences were all positive and moderate (0.15 ± 0.03 to 0.38 ± 0.01). On the other hand, positive and low genetic associations were estimated between hip height and scrotal circumference at different ages (0.09 ± 0.01 to 0.17 ± 0.02). The results of this study pointed out that selection to larger scrotal circumferences in males will promote changes in average weight gains. In order to obtain Nellore cattle with the stature and size suitable for the production system, both weight gain and hip height should be included in a selection index. <![CDATA[<b>Oviduct-specific expression of tissue plasminogen activator in laying hens</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Egg-laying hens are important candidate bioreactors for pharmaceutical protein production because of the amenability of their eggs for protein expression. In this study, we constructed an oviduct-specific vector containing tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) protein and green fluorescent protein (pL-2.8OVtPAGFP) and assessed its expression in vitro and in vivo. Oviduct epithelial and 3T3 cells were cultured and transfected with pL-2.8OVtPAGFP and pEGP-N1 (control vector), respectively. The pL-2.8OVtPAGFP vector was administered to laying hens via a wing vein and their eggs and tissues were examined for tPA expression. The oviduct-specific vector pL-2.8OVtPAGFP was expressed only in oviduct epithelial cells whereas pEGP-N1 was detected in oviduct epithelial and 3T3 cells. Western blotting detected a 89 kDa band corresponding to tPA in egg white and oviduct epithelial cells, thus confirming expression of the protein. The amount of tPAGFP in eggs ranged 9 to 41 ng/mL on the third day after vector injection. The tPA expressed in egg white and oviduct epithelial cells showed fibrinolytic activity, indicating that the protein was expressed in active form. GFP was observed only in oviducts, with no detection in heart, muscle, liver and intestine. This is the first study to report the expression of tPA in egg white and oviduct epithelial cells using an oviduct-specific vector. <![CDATA[<b>Cytogenetic characterization of two species of <i>Frieseomelitta</i> Ihering, 1912 (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The cytogenetic analysis of Frieseomelitta dispar and F. francoi revealed the chromosome numbers 2n = 30 and n = 15 and a karyotypic formula 2K = 4M+2Mt+4A+20A M. The number of chromosomes observed was consistent with those reported for other Frieseomelitta species. The occurrence of the Mt chromosome and other features of the karyotype formulae suggest a close relationship between F. dispar, F. francoi and F. varia. Nevertheless, it was possible to differentiate the karyotypes of the species by DAPI/CMA3 staining, which revealed GC-rich regions on two chromosome pairs of F. dispar: one acrocentric and one pseudoacrocentric. In F. francoi, the same kinds of regions were observed on a pair of metacentrics and on a pair of acrocentrics. Our analysis also confirmed the chromosome number conservation in Frieseomelitta and suggests that infrequent pericentric inversion could constitute a synapomorphy for the group including F. dispar, F. francoi, and F. varia. <![CDATA[<b>Cloning, expression and characterization of alcohol dehydrogenases in the silkworm <i>Bombyx mori</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH) are a class of enzymes that catalyze the reversible oxidation of alcohols to corresponding aldehydes or ketones, by using either nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP), as coenzymes. In this study, a short-chain ADH gene was identified in Bombyx mori by 5'-RACE PCR. This is the first time the coding region of BmADH has been cloned, expressed, purified and then characterized. The cDNA fragment encoding the BmADH protein was amplified from a pool of silkworm cDNAs by PCR, and then cloned into E. coli expression vector pET-30a(+). The recombinant His-tagged BmADH protein was expressed in E. coli BL21 (DE3), and then purified by metal chelating affinity chromatography. The soluble recombinant BmADH, produced at low-growth temperature, was instrumental in catalyzing the ethanol-dependent reduction of NAD+, thereby indicating ethanol as one of the substrates of BmADH. <![CDATA[<b>Phylogenetic relationships within <i>Chamaecrista</i> sect. <i>Xerocalyx</i> (Leguminosae, Caesalpinioideae) inferred from the cpDNA <i>trnE-trnT</i> intergenic spacer and nrDNA ITS sequences</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Chamaecrista belongs to subtribe Cassiinae (Caesalpinioideae), and it comprises over 330 species, divided into six sections. The section Xerocalyx has been subjected to a profound taxonomic shuffling over the years. Therefore, we conducted a phylogenetic analysis using a cpDNA trnE-trnT intergenic spacer and nrDNA ITS/5.8S sequences from Cassiinae taxa, in an attempt to elucidate the relationships within this section from Chamaecrista. The tree topology was congruent between the two data sets studied in which the monophyly of the genus Chamaecrista was strongly supported. Our analyses reinforce that new sectional boundaries must be defined in the Chamaecrista genus, especially the inclusion of sections Caliciopsis and Xerocalyx in sect. Chamaecrista, considered here paraphyletic. The section Xerocalyx was strongly supported as monophyletic; however, the current data did not show C. ramosa (microphyllous) and C. desvauxii (macrophyllous) and their respective varieties in distinct clades, suggesting that speciation events are still ongoing in these specimens. <![CDATA[<b>Towards an optimal sampling strategy for assessing genetic variation within and among white clover (<i>Trifolium repens</i> L.) cultivars using AFLP</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Cost reduction in plant breeding and conservation programs depends largely on correctly defining the minimal sample size required for the trustworthy assessment of intra- and inter-cultivar genetic variation. White clover, an important pasture legume, was chosen for studying this aspect. In clonal plants, such as the aforementioned, an appropriate sampling scheme eliminates the redundant analysis of identical genotypes. The aim was to define an optimal sampling strategy, i.e., the minimum sample size and appropriate sampling scheme for white clover cultivars, by using AFLP data (283 loci) from three popular types. A grid-based sampling scheme, with an interplant distance of at least 40 cm, was sufficient to avoid any excess in replicates. Simulations revealed that the number of samples substantially influenced genetic diversity parameters. When using less than 15 per cultivar, the expected heterozygosity (He) and Shannon diversity index (I) were greatly underestimated, whereas with 20, more than 95% of total intra-cultivar genetic variation was covered. Based on AMOVA, a 20-cultivar sample was apparently sufficient to accurately quantify individual genetic structuring. The recommended sampling strategy facilitates the efficient characterization of diversity in white clover, for both conservation and exploitation. <![CDATA[<b>Chromosome characterization and variability in some Iridaceae from Northeastern Brazil</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200016&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The chromosomes of 15 species of Iridaceae of the genera Alophia, Cipura, Eleutherine, Neomarica and Trimezia (subfamily Iridoideae) were examined after conventional Giemsa staining. The karyotypes of Alophia drummondii (2n = 14+1B, 28, 42 and 56), Cipura paludosa (2n = 14), C. xanthomelas (2n = 28) and Eleutherine bulbosa (2n = 12) were asymmetric; Neomarica candida, N. caerulea, N. humilis, N. glauca, N. gracilis, N. northiana and Neomarica sp. (2n = 18); N. cf. paradoxa (2n = 28), Trimezia fosteriana (2n = 52), T. martinicensis (2n = 54) and T. connata (2n = 82) were all generally symmetric. New diploid numbers of 2n = 56 for Alophia drummondii, 2n = 18 for N. candida, N. humilis, N. glauca, and N. gracilis, 2n = 28 for N. cf. paradoxa, and 2n = 82 for T. connata are reported. The karyotypic evolution of the studied species is discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Genetic differentiation and geographical Relationship of Asian barley landraces using SSRs</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200017&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Genetic diversity in 403 morphologically distinct landraces of barley (Hordeum vulgare L. subsp. vulgare) originating from seven geographical zones of Asia was studied using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers from regions of medium to high recombination in the barley genome. The seven polymorphic SSR markers representing each of the chromosomes chosen for the study revealed a high level of allelic diversity among the landraces. Genetic richness was highest in those from India, followed by Pakistan while it was lowest for Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Out of the 50 alleles detected, 15 were unique to a geographic region. Genetic diversity was highest for landraces from Pakistan (0.70 ± 0.06) and lowest for those from Uzbekistan (0.18 ± 0.17). Likewise, polymorphic information content (PIC) was highest for Pakistan (0.67 ± 0.06) and lowest for Uzbekistan (0.15 ± 0.17). Diversity among groups was 40% compared to 60% within groups. Principal component analysis clustered the barley landraces into three groups to predict their domestication patterns. In total 51.58% of the variation was explained by the first two principal components of the barley germplasm. Pakistan landraces were clustered separately from those of India, Iran, Nepal and Iraq, whereas those from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were clustered together into a separate group. <![CDATA[<b>cDNA-AFLP analysis of gene expression differences between the flower bud and sprout-shoot apical meristem of <i>Angelica sinensis</i> (Oliv.) Diels</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200018&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels (Umbelliferae) is a well-known medicinal plant mainly distributed in Gansu Province of China. Its local and global demand is significant because of its food and medicinal applications. However, the early bolting rate of Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels reaches 20%-60%, which seriously affects its food and medicinal qualities. Thus, differences in gene expression between the flower bud and sprout-shoot apical meristem underwent analysis, by means of cDNA-amplified restriction fragment length polymorphism, to better understand the flowering mechanism. 64 primer sets, each of which amplified to 60 transcript-derived fragments (TDFs), were used. Among these TDFs, 26 were expressed specifically in the flower bud. After cloning and sequencing, 32 distinct sequences were obtained from these 26 TDFs, and 25 were found with homologous sequences in databases. Confirmation of differential expression of 13 sequences was obtained by semi-quantitative RT-PCR, their showing higher expression levels in flower buds. These homologous sequences encode transposable elements, pentatricopeptide repeat-containing proteins, DNA-binding transcription factors, zinc finger (B-box type) family proteins, NADP-dependent sorbitol 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (S6PDH), amongst others. <![CDATA[<b>Phylogenetic analysis, based on EPIYA repeats in the <i>cag</i>A gene of Indian <i>Helicobacter pylori</i>, and the implications of sequence variation in tyrosine phosphorylation motifs on determining the clinical outcome</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200019&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The population of India harbors one of the world's most highly diverse gene pools, owing to the influx of successive waves of immigrants over regular periods in time. Several phylogenetic studies involving mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosomal variation have demonstrated Europeans to have been the first settlers in India. Nevertheless, certain controversy exists, due to the support given to the thesis that colonization was by the Austro-Asiatic group, prior to the Europeans. Thus, the aim was to investigate pre-historic colonization of India by anatomically modern humans, using conserved stretches of five amino acid (EPIYA) sequences in the cagA gene of Helicobacter pylori. Simultaneously, the existence of a pathogenic relationship of tyrosine phosphorylation motifs (TPMs), in 32 H. pylori strains isolated from subjects with several forms of gastric diseases, was also explored. High resolution sequence analysis of the above described genes was performed. The nucleotide sequences obtained were translated into amino acids using MEGA (version 4.0) software for EPIYA. An MJ-Network was constructed for obtaining TPM haplotypes by using NETWORK (version 4.5) software. The findings of the study suggest that Indian H. pylori strains share a common ancestry with Europeans. No specific association of haplotypes with the outcome of disease was revealed through additional network analysis of TPMs. <![CDATA[<b>A two-step strategy for the complementation of <i>M</i></b>: <b><i>tuberculosis</i></b><b> mutants</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200020&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The sequence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, completed in 1998, facilitated both the development of genomic tools, and the creation of a number of mycobacterial mutants. These mutants have a wide range of phenotypes, from attenuated to hypervirulent strains. These phenotypes must be confirmed, to rule out possible secondary mutations that may arise during the generation of mutant strains. This may occur during the amplification of target genes or during the generation of the mutation, thus constructing a complementation strain, which expresses the wild-type copy of the gene in the mutant strain, becomes necessary. In this study we have introduced a two-step strategy to construct complementation strains using the Ag85 promoter. We have constitutively expressed dosR and have shown dosR expression is restored to wild-type level. <![CDATA[<b>Evaluation of the genotoxic and antigenotoxic potential of <i>Melissa officinalis</i> in mice</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200021&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Melissa officinalis (L.) (Lamiaceae), a plant known as the lemon balm, is native to the east Mediterranean region and west Asia. Also found in tropical countries, such as Brazil, where it is popularly known as "erva-cidreira" or "melissa", it is widely used in aqueous- or alcoholic-extract form in the treatment of various disorders. The aim was to investigate in vivo its antigenotoxicity and antimutagenicity, as well as its genotoxic/mutagenic potential through comet and micronucleus assaying. CF-1 male mice were treated with ethanolic (Mo-EE) (250 or 500 mg/kg) or aqueous (Mo-AE) (100 mg/kg) solutions of an M. officinalis extract for 2 weeks, prior to treatment with saline or Methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) doses by intraperitoneal injection. Irrespective of the doses, no genotoxic or mutagenic effects were observed in blood and bone-marrow samples. Although Mo-EE exerted an antigenotoxic effect on the blood cells of mice treated with the alkylating agent (MMS) in all the doses, this was not so with Mo-AE. Micronucleus testing revealed the protector effect of Mo-EE, but only when administered at the highest dose. The implication that an ethanolic extract of M. officinalis has antigenotoxic/antimutagenic properties is an indication of its medicinal relevance. <![CDATA[<b>Genotoxic potential of <i>Cotinus coggygria</i> Scop</b><b>. </b><b>(Anacardiaceae) stem extract <i>in vivo</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200022&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The intention was to evaluate the possible in vivo genotoxic potential in different cell-types, of a methanol extract obtained from the plant stem of Cotinus coggygria Scop., using the sex-linked recessive lethal (or SLRL) test and alkaline comet assay. The SLRL test, revealed the genotoxic effect of this extract in postmeiotic and premeiotic germ-cell lines. The comet assay was carried out on rat liver and bone marrow at 24 and 72 h after intraperitoneal administration. For genotoxic evaluation, three concentrations of the extract were tested, viz., 500, 1000 and 2000 mg/kg body weight (bw), based on the solubility limit of the extract in saline. Comet tail moment and total scores in the group treated with 500 mg/kg bw, 24 and 72 h after treatment, were not significantly different from the control group, whereas in the groups of animals, under the same conditions, but with 1000 and 2000 mg/kg bw of the extract, scores were statistically so. A slight decrease in the comet score and tail moment observed in all the doses in the 72 h treatment, gave to understand that DNA damage induced by Cotinus coggygria extract decreased with time. The results of both tests revealed the genotoxic effect of Cotinus coggygria under our experimental conditions. <![CDATA[<b>Alterations in DNA repair gene expression and their possible regulation in rat-liver regeneration</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200023&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Rapidly proliferating tissue may require enhanced DNA repair capacity in order to avoid fixation of promutagenic DNA lesions to mutations. Partial hepatectomy (PH) triggers cell proliferation during liver regeneration (LR). However, little is known on how DNA repair genes change and how they are regulated at the transcriptional level during LR. In the present study, the Rat Genome 230 2.0 array was used to detect the expression profiles of DNA repair genes during LR, and differential expression of selected genes was confirmed by real-time RT-PCR. 69 DNA repair genes were found to be associated with LR, more than half of which distributed in a cluster characterized by a gradual increase at 24-72h and then returning to normal. The expression of base excision repair- and transcription-coupled repair-related genes was enhanced in the early and intermediate phases of LR, whereas the expression of genes related to HR, NHEJ and DNA cross-link repair, as well as DNA polymerases and related accessory factors, and editing or processing nucleases, were mainly enhanced in the intermediate phase. The expression changes of genes in DNA damage response were complicated throughout the whole LR. Our data also suggest that the expression of most DNA repair genes may be regulated by the cell cycle during LR. <![CDATA[<b>Antiproliferative effects of Tubi-bee propolis in glioblastoma cell lines</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200024&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Propolis is a resin formed by a complex chemical composition of substances that bees collect from plants. Since ancient times, propolis has been used in folk medicine, due to its biological properties, that include antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antitumoral and immunomodulatory activities. Glioblastoma is the most common human brain tumor. Despite the improvements in GBM standard treatment, patients' prognosis is still very poor. The aim of this work was to evaluate in vitro the Tubi-bee propolis effects on human glioblastoma (U251 and U343) and fibroblast (MRC-5) cell lines. Proliferation, clonogenic capacity and apoptosis were analyzed after treatment with 1 mg/mL and 2 mg/mL propolis concentrations for different time periods. Additionally, glioblastoma cell lines were submitted to treatment with propolis combined with temozolomide (TMZ). Data showed an antiproliferative effect of tubi-bee propolis against glioblastoma and fibroblast cell lines. Combination of propolis with TMZ had a synergic antiproliferative effect. Moreover, propolis caused decrease in colony formation in glioblastoma cell lines. Propolis treatment had no effects on apoptosis, demonstrating a cytostatic action. Further investigations are needed to elucidate the molecular mechanism of the antitumor effect of propolis, and the study of its individual components may reveal specific molecules with antiproliferative capacity. <![CDATA[<b>Anoxia- and hypoxia-induced expression of LDH-A* in the Amazon Oscar, <i>Astronotus crassipinis</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200025&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Adaptation or acclimation to hypoxia occurs via the modulation of physiologically relevant genes, such as erythropoietin, transferrin, vascular endothelial growth factor, phosphofructokinase and lactate dehydrogenase A. In the present study, we have cloned, sequenced and examined the modulation of the LDH-A gene after an Amazonian fish species, Astronotus crassipinis (the Oscar), was exposed to hypoxia and anoxia. In earlier studies, we have discovered that adults of this species are extremely tolerant to hypoxia and anoxia, while the juveniles are less tolerant. Exposure of juveniles to acute hypoxia and anoxia resulted in increased LDH-A gene expression in skeletal and cardiac muscles. When exposed to graded hypoxia juveniles show decreased LDH-A expression. In adults, the levels of LDH-A mRNA did not increase in hypoxic or anoxic conditions. Our results demonstrate that, when given time for acclimation, fish at different life-stages are able to respond differently to survive hypoxic episodes. <![CDATA[<b>Adaptive evolution of the vertebrate skeletal muscle sodium channel</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200026&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a highly potent neurotoxin that blocks the action potential by selectively binding to voltage-gated sodium channels (Na v). The skeletal muscle Na v (Na v1.4) channels in most pufferfish species and certain North American garter snakes are resistant to TTX, whereas in most mammals they are TTX-sensitive. It still remains unclear as to whether the difference in this sensitivity among the various vertebrate species can be associated with adaptive evolution. In this study, we investigated the adaptive evolution of the vertebrate Na v1.4 channels. By means of the CODEML program of the PAML 4.3 package, the lineages of both garter snakes and pufferfishes were denoted to be under positive selection. The positively selected sites identified in the p-loop regions indicated their involvement in Na v1.4 channel sensitivity to TTX. Most of these sites were located in the intracellular regions of the Na v1.4 channel, thereby implying the possible association of these regions with the regulation of voltage-sensor movement. <![CDATA[<b>Genetic characterization and phylogeography of the wild boar <i>Sus scrofa</i> introduced into Uruguay</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200027&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The European wild boar Sus scrofa was first introduced into Uruguay, in southern South America during the early decades of the last century. Subsequently, and starting from founder populations, its range spread throughout the country and into the neighbouring Brazilian state Rio Grande do Sul. Due to the subsequent negative impact, it was officially declared a national pest. The main aim in the present study was to provide a more comprehensive scenario of wild boar differentiation in Uruguay, by using mtDNA markers to access the genetic characterization of populations at present undergoing rapid expansion. A high level of haplotype diversity, intermediate levels of nucleotide diversity and considerable population differentiation, were detected among sampled localities throughout major watercourses and catchment dams countrywide. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the existence of two different phylogroups, thereby reflecting two deliberate introduction events forming distantly genetic lineages in local wild boar populations. Our analysis lends support to the hypothesis that the invasive potential of populations emerge from introgressive hybridization with domestic pigs. On taking into account the appreciable differentiation and reduced migration between locales in wild boar populations, management strategies could be effective if each population were to be considered as a single management unit. <![CDATA[<b>Prediction of social structure and genetic relatedness in colonies of the facultative polygynous stingless bee <i>Melipona bicolor</i> (Hymenoptera, Apidae)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200028&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Stingless bee colonies typically consist of one single-mated mother queen and her worker offspring. The stingless bee Melipona bicolor (Hymenoptera: Apidae) shows facultative polygyny, which makes this species particularly suitable for testing theoretical expectations concerning social behavior. In this study, we investigated the social structure and genetic relatedness among workers from eight natural and six manipulated colonies of M. bicolor over a period of one year. The populations of M. bicolor contained monogynous and polygynous colonies. The estimated genetic relatedness among workers from monogynous and polygynous colonies was 0.75 ± 0.12 and 0.53 ± 0.16 (mean ± SEM), respectively. Although the parental genotypes had significant effects on genetic relatedness in monogynous and polygynous colonies, polygyny markedly decreased the relatedness among nestmate workers. Our findings also demonstrate that polygyny in M. bicolor may arise from the adoption of related or unrelated queens. <![CDATA[<b>Isolation and multiplex genotyping of polymorphic microsatellite DNA markers in the snakehead murrel, <i>Channa striata</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200029&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Seven polymorphic microsatellite loci were isolated and characterized for the snakehead murrel, Channa striata (Channidae), a valuable tropical freshwater fish species. Among 25 specimens collected from Kedah state in Malaysia, the number of alleles per locus ranged from 2 to 7. Observed and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.120 to 0.880 and 0.117 to 0.698, respectively. A single locus (CS1-C07) was significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium after Bonferroni correction. These novel markers would be useful for population genetic studies of the C. striata. <![CDATA[<b>Comparative analysis of microsatellite variability in five macaw species (Psittaciformes, Psittacidae)</b>: <b>application for conservation</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200030&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Cross-amplification was tested and variability in microsatellite primers (designed for Neotropical parrots) compared, in five macaw species, viz., three endangered blue macaws (Cyanopsitta spixii [extinct in the wild], Anodorhynchus leari [endangered] and Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus [vulnerable]), and two unthreatened red macaws (Ara chloropterus and Ara macao). Among the primers tested, 84.6% successfully amplified products in C. spixii, 83.3% in A. leari, 76.4% in A. hyacinthinus, 78.6% in A. chloropterus and 71.4% in A. macao. The mean expected heterozygosity estimated for each species, and based on loci analyzed in all the five, ranged from 0.33 (A. hyacinthinus) to 0.85 (A. macao). As expected, the results revealed lower levels of genetic variability in threatened macaw species than in unthreatened. The low combined probability of genetic identity and the moderate to high potential for paternity exclusion, indicate the utility of the microsatellite loci set selected for each macaw species in kinship and population studies, thus constituting an aid in planning in-situ and ex-situ conservation. <![CDATA[<b>Rules extraction from neural networks applied to the prediction and recognition of prokaryotic promoters</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200031&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Promoters are DNA sequences located upstream of the gene region and play a central role in gene expression. Computational techniques show good accuracy in gene prediction but are less successful in predicting promoters, primarily because of the high number of false positives that reflect characteristics of the promoter sequences. Many machine learning methods have been used to address this issue. Neural Networks (NN) have been successfully used in this field because of their ability to recognize imprecise and incomplete patterns characteristic of promoter sequences. In this paper, NN was used to predict and recognize promoter sequences in two data sets: (i) one based on nucleotide sequence information and (ii) another based on stability sequence information. The accuracy was approximately 80% for simulation (i) and 68% for simulation (ii). In the rules extracted, biological consensus motifs were important parts of the NN learning process in both simulations. <![CDATA[<b>Erratum</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1415-47572011000200032&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Promoters are DNA sequences located upstream of the gene region and play a central role in gene expression. Computational techniques show good accuracy in gene prediction but are less successful in predicting promoters, primarily because of the high number of false positives that reflect characteristics of the promoter sequences. Many machine learning methods have been used to address this issue. Neural Networks (NN) have been successfully used in this field because of their ability to recognize imprecise and incomplete patterns characteristic of promoter sequences. In this paper, NN was used to predict and recognize promoter sequences in two data sets: (i) one based on nucleotide sequence information and (ii) another based on stability sequence information. The accuracy was approximately 80% for simulation (i) and 68% for simulation (ii). In the rules extracted, biological consensus motifs were important parts of the NN learning process in both simulations.