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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Site-specific genetic engineering of the Anopheles gambiae Y chromosome.

Despite its function in sex determination and its role in driving genome evolution, the Y chromosome remains poorly understood in most species. Y chromosomes are gene-poor, repeat-rich and largely heterochromatic and therefore represent a difficult target for genetic engineering. The Y chromosome of the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae appears to be involved in sex determination although very little is known about both its structure and function. Here, we characterize a transgenic strain of this mosquito species, obtained by transposon-mediated integration of a transgene construct onto the Y chromosome. Using meganuclease-induced homologous repair we introduce a site-specific recombination signal onto…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Insights into the preservation of the homomorphic sex-determining chromosome of Aedes aegypti from the discovery of a male-biased gene tightly linked to the M-locus.

The preservation of a homomorphic sex-determining chromosome in some organisms without transformation into a heteromorphic sex chromosome is a long-standing enigma in evolutionary biology. A dominant sex-determining locus (or M-locus) in an undifferentiated homomorphic chromosome confers the male phenotype in the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti. Genetic evidence suggests that the M-locus is in a nonrecombining region. However, the molecular nature of the M-locus has not been characterized. Using a recently developed approach based on Illumina sequencing of male and female genomic DNA, we identified a novel gene, myo-sex, that is present almost exclusively in the male genome but can…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Characterization of biological pathways associated with a 1.37 Mbp genomic region protective of hypertension in Dahl S rats.

The goal of the present study was to narrow a region of chromosome 13 to only several genes and then apply unbiased statistical approaches to identify molecular networks and biological pathways relevant to blood-pressure salt sensitivity in Dahl salt-sensitive (SS) rats. The analysis of 13 overlapping subcongenic strains identified a 1.37 Mbp region on chromosome 13 that influenced the mean arterial blood pressure by at least 25 mmHg in SS rats fed a high-salt diet. DNA sequencing and analysis filled genomic gaps and provided identification of five genes in this region, Rfwd2, Fam5b, Astn1, Pappa2, and Tnr. A cross-platform normalization…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Association mapping, patterns of linkage disequilibrium and selection in the vicinity of the PHYTOCHROME C gene in pearl millet.

Linkage analysis confirmed the association in the region of PHYC in pearl millet. The comparison of genes found in this region suggests that PHYC is the best candidate. Major efforts are currently underway to dissect the phenotype-genotype relationship in plants and animals using existing populations. This method exploits historical recombinations accumulated in these populations. However, linkage disequilibrium sometimes extends over a relatively long distance, particularly in genomic regions containing polymorphisms that have been targets for selection. In this case, many genes in the region could be statistically associated with the trait shaped by the selected polymorphism. Statistical analyses could help…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Pseudoautosomal region 1 length polymorphism in the human population.

The human sex chromosomes differ in sequence, except for the pseudoautosomal regions (PAR) at the terminus of the short and the long arms, denoted as PAR1 and PAR2. The boundary between PAR1 and the unique X and Y sequences was established during the divergence of the great apes. During a copy number variation screen, we noted a paternally inherited chromosome X duplication in 15 independent families. Subsequent genomic analysis demonstrated that an insertional translocation of X chromosomal sequence into theMa Y chromosome generates an extended PAR. The insertion is generated by non-allelic homologous recombination between a 548 bp LTR6B repeat…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Co-option of Sox3 as the male-determining factor on the Y chromosome in the fish Oryzias dancena.

Sex chromosomes harbour a primary sex-determining signal that triggers sexual development of the organism. However, diverse sex chromosome systems have been evolved in vertebrates. Here we use positional cloning to identify the sex-determining locus of a medaka-related fish, Oryzias dancena, and find that the locus on the Y chromosome contains a cis-regulatory element that upregulates neighbouring Sox3 expression in developing gonad. Sex-reversed phenotypes in Sox3(Y) transgenic fish, and Sox3(Y) loss-of-function mutants all point to its critical role in sex determination. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Sox3 initiates testicular differentiation by upregulating expression of downstream Gsdf, which is highly conserved in fish…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Ferrets exclusively synthesize Neu5Ac and express naturally humanized influenza A virus receptors.

Mammals express the sialic acids N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) and N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc) on cell surfaces, where they act as receptors for pathogens, including influenza A virus (IAV). Neu5Gc is synthesized from Neu5Ac by the enzyme cytidine monophosphate-N-acetylneuraminic acid hydroxylase (CMAH). In humans, this enzyme is inactive and only Neu5Ac is produced. Ferrets are susceptible to human-adapted IAV strains and have been the dominant animal model for IAV studies. Here we show that ferrets, like humans, do not synthesize Neu5Gc. Genomic analysis reveals an ancient, nine-exon deletion in the ferret CMAH gene that is shared by the Pinnipedia and Musteloidia members…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

A Y-chromosome-encoded small RNA acts as a sex determinant in persimmons.

In plants, multiple lineages have evolved sex chromosomes independently, providing a powerful comparative framework, but few specific determinants controlling the expression of a specific sex have been identified. We investigated sex determinants in the Caucasian persimmon, Diospyros lotus, a dioecious plant with heterogametic males (XY). Male-specific short nucleotide sequences were used to define a male-determining region. A combination of transcriptomics and evolutionary approaches detected a Y-specific sex-determinant candidate, OGI, that displays male-specific conservation among Diospyros species. OGI encodes a small RNA targeting the autosomal MeGI gene, a homeodomain transcription factor regulating anther fertility in a dosage-dependent fashion. This identification of…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Evolution and diversity of copy number variation in the great ape lineage.

Copy number variation (CNV) contributes to disease and has restructured the genomes of great apes. The diversity and rate of this process, however, have not been extensively explored among great ape lineages. We analyzed 97 deeply sequenced great ape and human genomes and estimate 16% (469 Mb) of the hominid genome has been affected by recent CNV. We identify a comprehensive set of fixed gene deletions (n = 340) and duplications (n = 405) as well as >13.5 Mb of sequence that has been specifically lost on the human lineage. We compared the diversity and rates of copy number and…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Genome organization of the vg1 and nodal3 gene clusters in the allotetraploid frog Xenopus laevis.

Extracellular factors belonging to the TGF-ß family play pivotal roles in the formation and patterning of germ layers during early Xenopus embryogenesis. Here, we show that the vg1 and nodal3 genes of Xenopus laevis are present in gene clusters on chromosomes XLA1L and XLA3L, respectively, and that both gene clusters have been completely lost from the syntenic S chromosome regions. The presence of gene clusters and chromosome-specific gene loss were confirmed by cDNA FISH analyses. Sequence and expression analyses revealed that paralogous genes in the vg1 and nodal3 clusters on the L chromosomes were also altered compared to their Xenopus…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Divergent evolution of multiple virus-resistance genes from a progenitor in Capsicum spp.

Plants have evolved hundreds of nucleotide-binding and leucine-rich domain proteins (NLRs) as potential intracellular immune receptors, but the evolutionary mechanism leading to the ability to recognize specific pathogen effectors is elusive. Here, we cloned Pvr4 (a Potyvirus resistance gene in Capsicum annuum) and Tsw (a Tomato spotted wilt virus resistance gene in Capsicum chinense) via a genome-based approach using independent segregating populations. The genes both encode typical NLRs and are located at the same locus on pepper chromosome 10. Despite the fact that these two genes recognize completely different viral effectors, the genomic structures and coding sequences of the two…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Identification of mutant genes and introgressed tiger salamander DNA in the laboratory axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum.

The molecular genetic toolkit of the Mexican axolotl, a classic model organism, has matured to the point where it is now possible to identify genes for mutant phenotypes. We used a positional cloning-candidate gene approach to identify molecular bases for two historic axolotl pigment phenotypes: white and albino. White (d/d) mutants have defects in pigment cell morphogenesis and differentiation, whereas albino (a/a) mutants lack melanin. We identified in white mutants a transcriptional defect in endothelin 3 (edn3), encoding a peptide factor that promotes pigment cell migration and differentiation in other vertebrates. Transgenic restoration of Edn3 expression rescued the homozygous white…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

The evolution and population diversity of human-specific segmental duplications

Segmental duplications contribute to human evolution, adaptation and genomic instability but are often poorly characterized. We investigate the evolution, genetic variation and coding potential of human-specific segmental duplications (HSDs). We identify 218 HSDs based on analysis of 322 deeply sequenced archaic and contemporary hominid genomes. We sequence 550 human and nonhuman primate genomic clones to reconstruct the evolution of the largest, most complex regions with protein-coding potential (N?=?80 genes from 33 gene families). We show that HSDs are non-randomly organized, associate preferentially with ancestral ape duplications termed ‘core duplicons’ and evolved primarily in an interspersed inverted orientation. In addition to…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

A vast genomic deletion in the C56BL/6 genome affects different genes within the Ifi200 cluster on chromosome 1 and mediates obesity and insulin resistance.

Obesity, the excessive accumulation of body fat, is a highly heritable and genetically heterogeneous disorder. The complex, polygenic basis for the disease consisting of a network of different gene variants is still not completely known.In the current study we generated a BAC library of the obese-prone NZO strain to clarify the genomic alteration within the gene cluster Ifi200 on chr.1 including Ifi202b, an obesity gene that is in contrast to NZO not expressed in the lean B6 mouse. With the PacBio sequencing data of NZO BAC clones we identified a deletion spanning approximately 261.8 kb in the B6 reference genome.…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Epigenetic origin of evolutionary novel centromeres.

Most evolutionary new centromeres (ENC) are composed of large arrays of satellite DNA and surrounded by segmental duplications. However, the hypothesis is that ENCs are seeded in an anonymous sequence and only over time have acquired the complexity of “normal” centromeres. Up to now evidence to test this hypothesis was lacking. We recently discovered that the well-known polymorphism of orangutan chromosome 12 was due to the presence of an ENC. We sequenced the genome of an orangutan homozygous for the ENC, and we focused our analysis on the comparison of the ENC domain with respect to its wild type counterpart.…

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