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  • Genetic divergence detected by ISSR markers and characterization of microsatellite regions in Mytilus mussels.

    17 October 2018

    The wide distribution of microsatellites in mussels of the Mytilus edulis complex (Mytilidae) enables the analysis of inter-simple-sequence repeat (ISSR) markers. The aim of this investigation was to assess genetic differentiation in six sampling localities distributed along the European Atlantic coast to expose the potential of these markers in genetic studies requiring the detection of low polymorphism and as a source of sequences for developing microsatellite markers. We detected low genetic structuring within each member of the Mytilus edulis complex. Nei and Li distances and AMOVA clustered the individuals studied into two groups. On the basis of these results two sampling localities coming from the M. edulis x M. galloprovincialis mosaic hybrid zone in Western Europe were assigned to one species. On the other hand, mussels of a sampling locality in the Baltic Sea were not significantly different from a pure M. edulis locality supporting an extensive introgression of M. edulis in these individuals. Finally, 148 microsatellites were found in the sequences of 51 ISSR markers, and two polymorphic microsatellite markers were developed.

  • Heterogeneous nature and distribution of interruptions in dinucleotides may indicate the existence of biased substitutions underlying microsatellite evolution.

    17 October 2018

    Some aspects of microsatellite evolution, such as the role of base substitutions, are far from being fully understood. To examine the significance of base substitutions underlying the evolution of microsatellites we explored the nature and the distribution of interruptions in dinucleotide repeats from the human genome. The frequencies that we inferred in the repetitive sequences were statistically different from the frequencies observed in other noncoding sequences. Additionally, we detected that the interruptions tended to be towards the ends of the microsatellites and 5'-3' asymmetry. In all the estimates nucleotides forming the same repetitive motif seem to be affected by different base substitution rates in AC and AG. This tendency itself could generate patterning and similarity in flanking sequences and reconcile these phenomena with the high mutation rate found in flanking sequences without invoking convergent evolution. Nevertheless, our data suggest that there is a regional bias in the substitution pattern of microsatellites. The accumulation of random substitutions alone cannot explain the heterogeneity and the asymmetry of interruptions found in this study or the relative frequency of different compound microsatellites in the human genome. Therefore, we cannot rule out the possibility of a mutational bias leading to convergent or parallel evolution in flanking sequences.

  • Heterogeneous distribution of SNPs in the human genome: microsatellites as predictors of nucleotide diversity and divergence.

    17 October 2018

    Understanding the forces that govern the distribution of single nucleotide polymorphisms is vital for many of their applications. Here we conducted a systematic search to quantify how both SNP density and human-chimpanzee divergence vary around different repetitive sequences. We uncovered a highly complicated picture in which these quantities often differ significantly from the genome-wide average in regions extending more than 20 kb, the direction of the deviation varying with repeat number and motif. AT microsatellites in particular are potent predictors of SNP density, long (AT)(n) repeat tracts tending to be found in regions of significantly reduced SNP density and low GC content. Although the causal relationships remain difficult to determine, our results indicate a strong relationship between microsatellites and the DNA that flanks them. Our results help to explain the mixed picture that emerges from other studies and have important implications for the way in which genetic diversity is distributed in our genomes.

  • Evidence for nonindependent evolution of adjacent microsatellites in the human genome.

    17 October 2018

    Microsatellites are short tandem repeats that evolve predominantly through a stepwise mutation model. Despite intensive study, many aspects of their evolution remain unresolved, particularly the question of how compound microsatellites containing two different motifs evolve. Previous work described profound asymmetries in the probability that any given second motif lies either 3' or 5' of an AC repeat tract. Here we confirm and extend this analysis to examine the length dependence of these asymmetries. We then use the differences in length between homologous human and chimpanzee microsatellites as a surrogate measure of the slippage-based mutation rate to explore factors that influence this process. We find that the dominant predictor of mutation rate is the length of the tract being considered, which is a stronger predictor than the length of the two tracts combined, but other factors also have a significant impact, including the length of the second tract and which of the two tracts lies upstream. We conclude that compound microsatellites rarely arise through random point mutations generating a second motif within a previously pure tract. Instead, our analyses point toward a model in which poorly understood mutation biases, probably affecting both slippage and point mutations and often showing 3'-5' polarity, promote the formation of compound microsatellites. The result is convergent evolution. We suggest that, although their exact nature remains unclear, these biases are likely attributable to structural features, such as the propensity of AC tracts to form Z-DNA.

  • Temporal genetic variation of microsatellite markers in the razor clam ensis arcuatus (bivalvia: Pharidae)

    17 October 2018

    The aim of this study was to characterize new microsatellite loci in the razor clam Ensis arcuatus (Bivalvia: Pharidae) and examine the temporal genetic variability of a natural bed in Cies Islands (Galicia, north-western Spain) exploited by apnoea divers and affected by the Prestige oil tanker spill in November 2002. In this work, we characterized four polymorphic microsatellites using an alternative approach that relies on the amplification and sequencing of ISSR markers. Observed heterozygosities ranged from 0.1053-0.6800 and number of alleles from 4-19. Linkage equilibrium was observed in all loci and two of them showed significant deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Estimators of FST between samples were low (<0.05) and not different from zero with a confidence level of 5%. We did not detect a clear decreasing tendency in genetic diversity although we found a significant change in allelic frequencies among samples (P=0.0024) after the Prestige oil spill. We propose that both phenomena could be related to a high variance in genetic success and/or a movement of adults or larvae from different source populations. Copyright © 2009 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

  • Development of microsatellite markers in the razor clam Solen marginatus (Bivalvia: Solenidae)

    17 October 2018

    Four microsatellite loci in the razor clam Solen marginatus are described. Loci were isolated from the sequences of intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers and an enriched library. Detailed analysis of these sequences led to the design of eight primer pairs. Allelic variation was assessed in 20 individuals from Redondela, Spain. The genetic variation observed in the markers presented here will be useful for future studies on the population structure of Solen marginatus in the wild and for aquaculture of this species.

  • Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci in the razor clam Ensis siliqua: Primer note

    17 October 2018

    Five polymorphic microsatellite loci in the razor clam Ensis siliqua are described. A collection consisting of 34 individuals from Finisterre, Spain, was analysed. Loci were isolated from the sequences of intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers. Detailed analysis of 42 ISSR markers led to the design of 16 primer pairs. Five of these yielded consistent and polymorphic products. The number of alleles ranged from five to 23 per locus with the observed heterozygosity ranging from 0.46 to 0.94. Linkage equilibrium was observed in all loci and three of them showed significant deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. © 2006 The AuthorsJournal compilation © 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  • Genetic heterogeneity in natural beds of the razor clam Ensis siliqua revealed by microsatellites

    17 October 2018

    The aim of this study was to analyse the genetic diversity and population structure in the razor clam Ensis siliqua along the European Atlantic coast taking into account their recent history of exploitation and the 'Prestige' oil spill. To this end we examined the genetic variability of microsatellite markers in 211 razor clams from five populations in Ireland, Portugal and Spain. Microsatellite data revealed a low genetic differentiation between the Spanish and Portuguese populations (FST= 0-0.032) and a moderate differentiation of these populations and the Irish samples (FST= 0.071-0.100). Although we observed changes in genetic diversity in accordance with the level of exploitation and the distribution of the oil spill, these changes were mild and not significant after Bonferroni correction. This could be the result of a genuine low impact, lack of statistical power and/or the capacity of this species to recolonize quickly after the impact of anthropogenic stressors. Supporting the latter argument we found a significant temporal heterogeneity of allelic frequencies in samples coming from the same sampling locality that could be attributed to the movement of adults or larvae from unaffected source populations. Copyright © 2011 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

  • Current understanding of molecular pathology and treatment of cardiomyopathy in duchenne muscular dystrophy.

    17 October 2018

    Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic muscle disorder caused by mutations in the Dmd gene resulting in the loss of the protein dystrophin. Patients do not only experience skeletal muscle degeneration, but also develop severe cardiomyopathy by their second decade, one of the main causes of death. The absence of dystrophin in the heart renders cardiomyocytes more sensitive to stretch-induced damage. Moreover, it pathologically alters intracellular calcium (Ca2+) concentration, neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) localization and mitochondrial function and leads to inflammation and necrosis, all contributing to the development of cardiomyopathy. Current therapies only treat symptoms and therefore the need for targeting the genetic defect is immense. Several preclinical therapies are undergoing development, including utrophin up-regulation, stop codon read-through therapy, viral gene therapy, cell-based therapy and exon skipping. Some of these therapies are undergoing clinical trials, but these have predominantly focused on skeletal muscle correction. However, improving skeletal muscle function without addressing cardiac aspects of the disease may aggravate cardiomyopathy and therefore it is essential that preclinical and clinical focus include improving heart function. This review consolidates what is known regarding molecular pathology of the DMD heart, specifically focusing on intracellular Ca2+, nNOS and mitochondrial dysregulation. It briefly discusses the current treatment options and then elaborates on the preclinical therapeutic approaches currently under development to restore dystrophin thereby improving pathology, with a focus on the heart.