Abstract in English:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been identified in cells as well as in exosomes in biological fluids such as milk. In mammary gland, most of the miRNAs studied have functions related to immunity and show alterations in their pattern of expression during lactation. In mastitis, the inflammatory response caused by Streptococcus uberis alters the expression of miRNAs that may regulate the innate immune system. These small RNAs are stable at room temperature and are resistant to repeated freeze/thaw cycles, acidic conditions and degradation by RNAse, making them resistant to industrial procedures. These properties mean that miRNAs could have multiple applications in veterinary medicine and biotechnology. Indeed, lactoglobulin-free milk has been produced in transgenic cows expressing specific miRNAs. Although plant and animal miRNAs have undergone independent evolutionary adaptation recent studies have demonstrated a cross-kingdom passage in which rice miRNA was isolated from human serum. This finding raises questions about the possible effect that miRNAs present in foods consumed by humans could have on human gene regulation. Further studies are needed before applying miRNA biotechnology to the milk industry. New discoveries and a greater knowledge of gene expression will lead to a better understanding of the role of miRNAs in physiology, nutrition and evolution.
Abstract in English:The comparison of genetic divergence or genetic distances, estimated by pairwise F ST and related statistics, with geographical distances by Mantel test is one of the most popular approaches to evaluate spatial processes driving population structure. There have been, however, recent criticisms and discussions on the statistical performance of the Mantel test. Simultaneously, alternative frameworks for data analyses are being proposed. Here, we review the Mantel test and its variations, including Mantel correlograms and partial correlations and regressions. For illustrative purposes, we studied spatial genetic divergence among 25 populations of Dipteryx alata ("Baru"), a tree species endemic to the Cerrado, the Brazilian savannas, based on 8 microsatellite loci. We also applied alternative methods to analyze spatial patterns in this dataset, especially a multivariate generalization of Spatial Eigenfunction Analysis based on redundancy analysis. The different approaches resulted in similar estimates of the magnitude of spatial structure in the genetic data. Furthermore, the results were expected based on previous knowledge of the ecological and evolutionary processes underlying genetic variation in this species. Our review shows that a careful application and interpretation of Mantel tests, especially Mantel correlograms, can overcome some potential statistical problems and provide a simple and useful tool for multivariate analysis of spatial patterns of genetic divergence.
Abstract in English:Autism is a childhood neuro-developmental disorder, and Reelin (RELN) is an important candidate gene for influencing autism. This study aimed at investigating the influence of genetic variants of the RELN gene on autism susceptibility. In this study, 205 autism patients and 210 healthy controls were recruited and the genetic variants of the RELN gene were genotyped by the created restriction site-polymerase chain reaction (CRS-PCR) method. The influence of genetic variants on autism susceptibility was analyzed by association analysis, and the g.296596G > A genetic variant in exon10 of the RELN gene was detected. The frequencies of allele/genotype in autistic patients were significantly different from those in healthy controls, and a statistically significant association was detected between this genetic variant and autism susceptibility. Our data lead to the inference that the g.296596G > A genetic variant in the RELN gene has a potential influence on autism susceptibility in the Chinese Han population.
Abstract in English:DNA methylation is mediated by DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) that add a methyl group to the 5'-carbon of cytosine. The enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) catalyzes the reduction of 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate in the rate-limiting step of the cycle involving the methyl donor S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM). The MTHFR C677T polymorphism results in a thermolabile enzyme with reduced activity that is predicted to influence the DNA methylation status. In this study, we investigated the impact of the MTHFR C677T polymorphism on the global DNA methylation of oral epithelial cells obtained from 54 healthy subjects. There were no significant differences in global DNA methylation among the MTHFR CC, CT and TT genotypes (p = 0.75; Kruskal-Wallis test).
Abstract in English:Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disease with high prevalence in people of African descent. There are five typical haplotypes associated with this disease and the haplotypes associated with the beta-globin gene cluster have been used to establish the origin of African-descendant people in America. In this work, we determined the frequency and the origin of haplotypes associated with hemoglobin S in a sample of individuals with sickle cell anemia (HbSS) and sickle cell hemoglobin trait (HbAS) in coastal regions of Colombia. Blood samples from 71 HbAS and 79 HbSS individuals were obtained. Haplotypes were determined based on the presence of variable restriction sites within the β-globin gene cluster. On the Pacific coast of Colombia the most frequent haplotype was Benin, while on the Atlantic coast Bantu was marginally higher than Benin. Eight atypical haplotypes were observed on both coasts, being more diverse in the Atlantic than in the Pacific region. These results suggest a differential settlement of the coasts, dependent on where slaves were brought from, either from the Gulf of Guinea or from Angola, where the haplotype distributions are similar. Atypical haplotypes probably originated from point mutations that lost or gained a restriction site and/or by recombination events.
Abstract in English:Argyrophilic grain disease (AGD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease of the human brain that has never been associated to a particular gene locus. In the present study, we report the results of a CNV investigation in 29 individuals whose anatomopathologic investigation of the brain showed AGD. Rare CNVs were identified in six patients (21%), in particular a 40 kb deletion at 17p13.2 encompassing the CTNS gene. Homozygote mutations in CTNS are known to cause cystinosis, a disorder characterized by the intralysosomal accumulation of cystine in all tissues. We present the first CNV results in individuals presenting AGD and a possible candidate gene implicated in the disorder.
Abstract in English:Glycogen storage disease (GSD) comprises a group of autosomal recessive disorders characterized by deficiency of the enzymes that regulate the synthesis or degradation of glycogen. Types Ia and Ib are the most prevalent; while the former is caused by deficiency of glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase), the latter is associated with impaired glucose-6-phosphate transporter, where the catalytic unit of G6Pase is located. Over 85 mutations have been reported since the cloning of G6PC and SLC37A4 genes. In this study, twelve unrelated patients with clinical symptoms suggestive of GSDIa and Ib were investigated by using genetic sequencing of G6PC and SLC37A4 genes, being three confirmed as having GSD Ia, and two with GSD Ib. In seven of these patients no mutations were detected in any of the genes. Five changes were detected in G6PC, including three known point mutations (p.G68R, p.R83C and p.Q347X) and two neutral mutations (c.432G > A and c.1176T > C). Four changes were found in SLC37A4: a known point mutation (p.G149E), a novel frameshift insertion (c.1338_1339insT), and two neutral mutations (c.1287G > A and c.1076-28C > T). The frequency of mutations in our population was similar to that observed in the literature, in which the mutation p.R83C is also the most frequent one. Analysis of both genes should be considered in the investigation of this condition. An alternative explanation to the negative results in this molecular study is the possibility of a misdiagnosis. Even with a careful evaluation based on laboratory and clinical findings, overlap with other types of GSD is possible, and further molecular studies should be indicated.
Abstract in English:Deficiency paternity cases, characterized by the absence of the alleged father, are a challenge for forensic genetics. Here we present four cases with a female child and a deceased alleged father in which the analysis of a set of 21 or 22 autosomal STRs (AS STRs) produced results within a range of doubt when genotyping relatives of the alleged father. Aiming to increase the Paternity Index (PI) and obtain more reliable results, a set of 10 X-linked STR markers, developed by the Spanish and Portuguese Group of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG), was then added. Statistical analysis substantially shifted the results towards the alleged fatherhood in all four cases, with more dramatic changes when the supposed half-sister and respective mother were the relatives tested.
Abstract in English:Fine mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTL) from previous linkage studies was performed on pig chromosomes 1, 4, 7, 8, 17, and X which were known to harbor QTL. Traits were divided into: growth performance, carcass, internal organs, cut yields, and meat quality. Fifty families were used of a F2 population produced by crossing local Brazilian Piau boars with commercial sows. The linkage map consisted of 237 SNP and 37 microsatellite markers covering 866 centimorgans. QTL were identified by regression interval mapping using GridQTL. Individual marker effects were estimated by Bayesian LASSO regression using R. In total, 32 QTL affecting the evaluated traits were detected along the chromosomes studied. Seven of the QTL were known from previous studies using our F2 population, and 25 novel QTL resulted from the increased marker coverage. Six of the seven QTL that were significant at the 5% genome-wide level had SNPs within their confidence interval whose effects were among the 5% largest effects. The combined use of microsatellites along with SNP markers increased the saturation of the genome map and led to smaller confidence intervals of the QTL. The results showed that the tested models yield similar improvements in QTL mapping accuracy.
Abstract in English:In the current post-genomic era, the genetic basis of pig growth can be understood by assessing SNP marker effects and genomic breeding values (GEBV) based on estimates of these growth curve parameters as phenotypes. Although various statistical methods, such as random regression (RR-BLUP) and Bayesian LASSO (BL), have been applied to genomic selection (GS), none of these has yet been used in a growth curve approach. In this work, we compared the accuracies of RR-BLUP and BL using empirical weight-age data from an outbred F2 (Brazilian Piau X commercial) population. The phenotypes were determined by parameter estimates using a nonlinear logistic regression model and the halothane gene was considered as a marker for evaluating the assumptions of the GS methods in relation to the genetic variation explained by each locus. BL yielded more accurate values for all of the phenotypes evaluated and was used to estimate SNP effects and GEBV vectors. The latter allowed the construction of genomic growth curves, which showed substantial genetic discrimination among animals in the final growth phase. The SNP effect estimates allowed identification of the most relevant markers for each phenotype, the positions of which were coincident with reported QTL regions for growth traits.
Abstract in English:The current taxonomy of most Atelopus species is based on morphological and color data only. Recent studies suggest that A. spumarius may represent a species complex assigned under the same name. Karyotypic data and description of sperm ultrastructure for 13 specimens of A. spumarius are presented here for the first time. A chromosomal analysis revealed 2n = 22 chromosomes, with centromeric heterochromatin in all pairs and a nucleolar organizer region (NOR) on the telomere of pair 7. The sperm was of the bufonoid type, presenting a filiform nucleus covered by an acrosomal complex and a mitochondrial collar in the neck region. The tail was composed of an axoneme, an undulating membrane and an axial rod. A karyotype analysis of A. spumarius showed the same chromosome number and similar chromosomal morphology as described for congeneric species, with slight differences probably resulting from pericentric inversions. The NOR location (on pair 7) was the same as that observed for species belonging to the genus Rhinella. The spermatological findings indicate a close relationship between Atelopus and the bufonoid lineage. The present data are useful for reference in future studies to determine whether more than one species are assigned to A. spumarius.
Abstract in English:Parapiptadenia rigida is a tropical early secondary succession tree characteristic of the Tropical Atlantic Rainforest. This species is of great ecological importance in the recovery of degraded areas. In this study we investigated the variability and population genetic structure of eight populations of P. rigida. Five AFLP primer combinations were used in a sample of 159 individuals representing these eight populations, rendering a total of 126 polymorphic fragments. The averages of percentage of polymorphic loci, gene diversity, and Shannon index were 60.45%, 0.217, and 0.322, respectively. A significant correlation between the population genetic variability and the population sizes was observed. The genetic variability within populations (72.20%) was higher than between these (22.80%). No perfect correlation was observed between geographic and genetic distances, which might be explained by differences in deforestation intensities that occurred in these areas. A dendrogram constructed by the UPGMA method revealed the formation of two clusters, these also confirmed by Bayesian analysis for the number of K cluster. These results show that it is necessary to develop urgent management strategies for the conservation of certain populations of P. rigida, while other populations still preserve reasonably high levels of genetic variability.
Abstract in English:Lignin is a major cell wall component of vascular plants that provides mechanical strength and hydrophobicity to vascular vessels. However, the presence of lignin limits the effective use of crop straw in many agroindustrial processes. Here, we generated transgenic maize plants in which the expression of a lignin biosynthetic gene encoding CCoAOMT , a key enzyme involved in the lignin biosynthesis pathway was downregulated by RNA interference (RNAi). RNAi of CCoAOMT led to significantly downregulated expression of this gene in transgenic maize compared with WT plants. These transgenic plants exhibited a 22.4% decrease in Klason lignin content and a 23.3% increase in cellulose content compared with WT plants, which may reflect compensatory regulation of lignin and cellulose deposition. We also measured the lignin monomer composition of the RNAi plants by GC-MS and determined that transgenic plants had a 57.08% higher S/G ratio than WT plants. In addition, histological staining of lignin with Wiesner reagent produced slightly more coloration in the xylem and sclerenchyma than WT plants. These results provide a foundation for breeding maize with low-lignin content and reveal novel insights about lignin regulation via genetic manipulation of CCoAOMT expression.
Abstract in English:Genetic diversity is essential for crop breeding and one way to estimate it is through the concept of genetic base, which can be defined as the number of ancestors and their relative genetic contributions (RGC) to each cultivar. The RGC can be estimated through the coefficient of parentage between the ancestors and cultivars. Previous studies determined that the genetic base of Brazilian soybean was very narrow. The objective of this work was to evaluate the pedigree of 444 Brazilian soybean cultivars to estimate their genetic base. The cultivars were divided according to their release dates and according to their origin (public or private), and the genetic base for each group was also estimated. We found 60 ancestors, of which the top four (CNS, S-100, Roanoke and Tokyo, respectively) contribute 55.3% of the genetic base. Only 14 ancestors have an RGC over 1.0%, and they represent 92.4% of the genetic base. Analysis of the release dates indicated that there has been an increase in the number of ancestors over time, but the four main ancestors were the same over all periods, and their cumulative RGC increased from 46.6% to 57.6%, indicating a narrowing of the genetic base.
Abstract in English:The loss of soybean yield to Brazilian producers because of a water deficit in the 2011-2012 season was 12.9%. To reduce such losses, molecular biology techniques, including plant transformation, can be used to insert genes of interest into conventional soybean cultivars to produce lines that are more tolerant to drought. The abscisic acid (ABA)-independent Dehydration Responsive Element Binding (DREB) gene family has been used to obtain plants with increased tolerance to abiotic stresses. In the present study, the rd29A:AtDREB2A CA gene from Arabidopsis thaliana was inserted into soybean using biolistics. Seventy-eight genetically modified (GM) soybean lines containing 2-17 copies of the AtDREB2A CA gene were produced. Two GM soybean lines (P1397 and P2193) were analyzed to assess the differential expression of the AtDREB2A CA transgene in leaves and roots submitted to various dehydration treatments. Both GM lines exhibited high expression of the transgene, with the roots of P2193 showing the highest expression levels during water deficit. Physiological parameters examined during water deficit confirmed the induction of stress. This analysis of AtDREB2A CA expression in GM soybean indicated that line P2193 had the greatest stability and highest expression in roots during water deficit-induced stress.
Abstract in English:Morphological, physiological and molecular changes were investigated in in vitro salt-stressed barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv. Tokak). Mature embryos were cultured in Murashige and Skoog medium containing 0 (control), 50 and 100 mM NaCl for 20 days. Both concentrations inhibited shoot growth, decreased fresh weight and protein content, and increased SOD (EC 220.127.116.11) activity in a dose-dependent manner. The lower concentration increased root growth. Salinity caused nucleotide variations in roots, but did not affect shoot DNAs. The higher concentration caused methylation changes, mainly hypermethylation in shoots. This is the first study on genetic and epigenetic effects of salinity in barley.
Abstract in English:The 18S rDNA phylogeny of Class Armophorea, a group of anaerobic ciliates, is proposed based on an analysis of 44 sequences (out of 195) retrieved from the NCBI/GenBank database. Emphasis was placed on the use of two nucleotide alignment criteria that involved variation in the gap-opening and gap-extension parameters and the use of rRNA secondary structure to orientate multiple-alignment. A sensitivity analysis of 76 data sets was run to assess the effect of variations in indel parameters on tree topologies. Bayesian inference, maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony phylogenetic analyses were used to explore how different analytic frameworks influenced the resulting hypotheses. A sensitivity analysis revealed that the relationships among higher taxa of the Intramacronucleata were dependent upon how indels were determined during multiple-alignment of nucleotides. The phylogenetic analyses rejected the monophyly of the Armophorea most of the time and consistently indicated that the Metopidae and Nyctotheridae were related to the Litostomatea. There was no consensus on the placement of the Caenomorphidae, which could be a sister group of the Metopidae + Nyctorheridae, or could have diverged at the base of the Spirotrichea branch or the Intramacronucleata tree.
Abstract in English:The puma is an iconic predator that ranges throughout the Americas, occupying diverse habitats. Previous phylogeographic analyses have revealed that it exhibits moderate levels of genetic structure across its range, with few of the classically recognized subspecies being supported as distinct demographic units. Moreover, most of the species' molecular diversity was found to be in South America. To further investigate the phylogeographic structure and demographic history of pumas we analyzed mtDNA sequences from 186 individuals sampled throughout their range, with emphasis on South America. Our objectives were to refine the phylogeographic assessment within South America and to investigate the demographic history of pumas using a coalescent approach. Our results extend previous phylogeographic findings, reassessing the delimitation of historical population units in South America and demonstrating that this species experienced a considerable demographic expansion in the Holocene, ca. 8,000 years ago. Our analyses indicate that this expansion occurred in South America, prior to the hypothesized re-colonization of North America, which was therefore inferred to be even more recent. The estimated demographic history supports the interpretation that pumas suffered a severe demographic decline in the Late Pleistocene throughout their distribution, followed by population expansion and re-colonization of the range, initiating from South America.
Abstract in English:Nothotsuga longibracteata, a relic and endangered conifer species endemic to subtropical China, was studied for examining the spatial-temporal population genetic variation and structure to understand the historical biogeographical processes underlying the present geographical distribution. Ten populations were sampled over the entire natural range of the species for spatial analysis, while three key populations with large population sizes and varied age structure were selected for temporal analyses using both nuclear microsatellites (nSSR) and chloroplast microsatellites (cpSSR). A recent bottleneck was detected in the natural populations of N. longibracteata. The spatial genetic analysis showed significant population genetic differentiation across its total geographical range. Notwithstanding, the temporal genetic analysis revealed that the level of genetic diversity between different age class subpopulations remained constant over time. Eleven refugia of the Last Glacial Maximum were identified, which deserve particular attention for conservation management.
Abstract in English:Understanding the mechanism(s) by which dopaminergic (DAergic) neurons are eroded in Parkinson's disease (PD) is critical for effective therapeutic strategies. By using the binary tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-Gal4/UAS-X RNAi Drosophila melanogaster system, we report that Dmp53, basket and drICE gene knockdown in dopaminergic neurons prolong life span (p < 0.05; log-rank test) and locomotor activity (p < 0.05; χ² test) in D. melanogaster lines chronically exposed to (1 mM) paraquat (PQ, oxidative stress (OS) generator) compared to untreated transgenic fly lines. Likewise, knockdown flies displayed higher climbing performance than control flies. Amazingly, gallic acid (GA) significantly protected DAergic neurons, ameliorated life span, and climbing abilities in knockdown fly lines treated with PQ compared to flies treated with PQ only. Therefore, silencing specific gene(s) involved in neuronal death might constitute an excellent tool to study the response of DAergic neurons to OS stimuli. We propose that a therapy with antioxidants and selectively "switching off" death genes in DAergic neurons could provide a means for pre-clinical PD individuals to significantly ameliorate their disease condition.