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1.  Conservation Genetics of Threatened Hippocampus guttulatus in Vulnerable Habitats in NW Spain: Temporal and Spatial Stability of Wild Populations with Flexible Polygamous Mating System in Captivity 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117538.
This study was focused on conservation genetics of threatened Hippocampus guttulatus on the Atlantic coast of NW Iberian Peninsula. Information about spatial structure and temporal stability of wild populations was obtained based on microsatellite markers, and used for monitoring a captive breeding program firstly initiated in this zone at the facilities of the Institute of Marine Research (Vigo, Spain). No significant major genetic structure was observed regarding the biogeographical barrier of Cape Finisterre. However, two management units under continuous gene flow are proposed based on the allelic differentiation between South-Atlantic and Cantabrian subpopulations, with small to moderate contemporary effective size based on single-sample methods. Temporal stability was observed in South-Atlantic population samples of H. guttulatus for the six-year period studied, suggesting large enough effective population size to buffer the effects of genetic drift within the time frame of three generations. Genetic analysis of wild breeders and offspring in captivity since 2009 allowed us to monitor the breeding program founded in 2006 in NW Spain for this species. Similar genetic diversity in the renewed and founder broodstock, regarding the wild population of origin, supports suitable renewal and rearing processes to maintain genetic variation in captivity. Genetic parentage proved single-brood monogamy in the wild and in captivity, but flexible short- and long-term mating system under captive conditions, from strict monogamy to polygamy within and/or among breeding seasons. Family analysis showed high reproductive success in captivity under genetic management assisted by molecular relatedness estimates to avoid inbreeding. This study provides genetic information about H. guttulatus in the wild and captivity within an uncovered geographical range for this data deficient species, to be taken into account for management and conservation purposes.
PMCID: PMC4315495  PMID: 25646777
2.  Fine Mapping and Evolution of the Major Sex Determining Region in Turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(10):1871-1880.
Fish sex determination (SD) systems are varied, suggesting evolutionary changes including either multiple evolution origins of genetic SD from nongenetic systems (such as environmental SD) and/or turnover events replacing one genetic system by another. When genetic SD is found, cytological differentiation between the two members of the sex chromosome pair is often minor or undetectable. The turbot (Scophthalmus maximus), a valuable commercial flatfish, has a ZZ/ZW system and a major SD region on linkage group 5 (LG5), but there are also other minor genetic and environmental influences. We here report refined mapping of the turbot SD region, supported by comparative mapping with model fish species, to identify the turbot master SD gene. Six genes were located to the SD region, two of them associated with gonad development (sox2 and dnajc19). All showed a high association with sex within families (P = 0), but not at the population level, so they are probably partially sex-linked genes, but not SD gene itself. Analysis of crossovers in LG5 using two families confirmed a ZZ/ZW system in turbot and suggested a revised map position for the master gene. Genetic diversity and differentiation for 25 LG5 genetic markers showed no differences between males and females sampled from a wild population, suggesting a recent origin of the SD region in turbot. We also analyzed associations with markers of the most relevant sex-related linkage groups in brill (S. rhombus), a closely related species to turbot; the data suggest that an ancient XX/XY system in brill changed to a ZZ/ZW mechanism in turbot.
PMCID: PMC4199694  PMID: 25106948
turbot; sex determining master gene; comparative mapping; sex genetic differentiation; evolution of sex determination; genetics of sex
3.  Development and Validation of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) Markers from Two Transcriptome 454-Runs of Turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) Using High-Throughput Genotyping 
The turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) is a commercially valuable flatfish and one of the most promising aquaculture species in Europe. Two transcriptome 454-pyrosequencing runs were used in order to detect Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes related to immune response and gonad differentiation. A total of 866 true SNPs were detected in 140 different contigs representing 262,093 bp as a whole. Only one true SNP was analyzed in each contig. One hundred and thirteen SNPs out of the 140 analyzed were feasible (genotyped), while III were polymorphic in a wild population. Transition/transversion ratio (1.354) was similar to that observed in other fish studies. Unbiased gene diversity (He) estimates ranged from 0.060 to 0.510 (mean = 0.351), minimum allele frequency (MAF) from 0.030 to 0.500 (mean = 0.259) and all loci were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium after Bonferroni correction. A large number of SNPs (49) were located in the coding region, 33 representing synonymous and 16 non-synonymous changes. Most SNP-containing genes were related to immune response and gonad differentiation processes, and could be candidates for functional changes leading to phenotypic changes. These markers will be useful for population screening to look for adaptive variation in wild and domestic turbot.
PMCID: PMC3634403  PMID: 23481633
turbot; Scophthalmus maximus; SNP validation; EST database; non-synonymous substitution; high-throughput genotyping
4.  An Expressed Sequence Tag (EST)-enriched genetic map of turbot (Scophthalmus maximus): a useful framework for comparative genomics across model and farmed teleosts 
BMC Genetics  2012;13:54.
The turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) is a relevant species in European aquaculture. The small turbot genome provides a source for genomics strategies to use in order to understand the genetic basis of productive traits, particularly those related to sex, growth and pathogen resistance. Genetic maps represent essential genomic screening tools allowing to localize quantitative trait loci (QTL) and to identify candidate genes through comparative mapping. This information is the backbone to develop marker-assisted selection (MAS) programs in aquaculture. Expressed sequenced tag (EST) resources have largely increased in turbot, thus supplying numerous type I markers suitable for extending the previous linkage map, which was mostly based on anonymous loci. The aim of this study was to construct a higher-resolution turbot genetic map using EST-linked markers, which will turn out to be useful for comparative mapping studies.
A consensus gene-enriched genetic map of the turbot was constructed using 463 SNP and microsatellite markers in nine reference families. This map contains 438 markers, 180 EST-linked, clustered at 24 linkage groups. Linkage and comparative genomics evidences suggested additional linkage group fusions toward the consolidation of turbot map according to karyotype information. The linkage map showed a total length of 1402.7 cM with low average intermarker distance (3.7 cM; ~2 Mb). A global 1.6:1 female-to-male recombination frequency (RF) ratio was observed, although largely variable among linkage groups and chromosome regions. Comparative sequence analysis revealed large macrosyntenic patterns against model teleost genomes, significant hits decreasing from stickleback (54%) to zebrafish (20%). Comparative mapping supported particular chromosome rearrangements within Acanthopterygii and aided to assign unallocated markers to specific turbot linkage groups.
The new gene-enriched high-resolution turbot map represents a useful genomic tool for QTL identification, positional cloning strategies, and future genome assembling. This map showed large synteny conservation against model teleost genomes. Comparative genomics and data mining from landmarks will provide straightforward access to candidate genes, which will be the basis for genetic breeding programs and evolutionary studies in this species.
PMCID: PMC3464660  PMID: 22747677
Turbot; Scopththalmus maximus; Pleuronectiformes; Genetic map; Recombination frequency; Comparative mapping
5.  Genomic Organization, Molecular Diversification, and Evolution of Antimicrobial Peptide Myticin-C Genes in the Mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e24041.
Myticin-C is a highly variable antimicrobial peptide associated to immune response in Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis). In this study, we tried to ascertain the genetic organization and the mechanisms underlying myticin-C variation and evolution of this gene family. We took advantage of the large intron size variation to find out the number of myticin-C genes. Using fragment analysis a maximum of four alleles was detected per individual at both introns in a large mussel sample suggesting a minimum of two myticin-C genes. The transmission pattern of size variants in two full-sib families was also used to ascertain the number of myticin-C genes underlying the variability observed. Results in both families were in accordance with two myticin-C genes organized in tandem. A more detailed analysis of myticin-C variation was carried out by sequencing a large sample of complementary (cDNA) and genomic DNA (gDNA) in 10 individuals. Two basic sequences were detected at most individuals and several sequences were constituted by combination of two different basic sequences, strongly suggesting somatic recombination or gene conversion. Slight within-basic sequence variation detected in all individuals was attributed to somatic mutation. Such mutations were more frequently at the C-terminal domain and mostly determined non-synonymous substitutions. The mature peptide domain showed the highest variation both in the whole cDNA and in the basic-sequence samples, which is in accordance with the pathogen recognition function associated to this domain. Although most tests suggested neutrality for myticin-C variation, evidence indicated positive selection in the mature peptide and C-terminal region. Three main highly supported clusters were observed when reconstructing phylogeny on basic sequences, meiotic recombination playing a relevant role on myticin-C evolution. This study demonstrates that mechanisms to generate molecular variation similar to that observed in vertebrates are also operating in molluscs.
PMCID: PMC3164099  PMID: 21904604
6.  Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from immune tissues of turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) challenged with pathogens 
The turbot (Scophthalmus maximus; Scophthalmidae; Pleuronectiformes) is a flatfish species of great relevance for marine aquaculture in Europe. In contrast to other cultured flatfish, very few genomic resources are available in this species. Aeromonas salmonicida and Philasterides dicentrarchi are two pathogens that affect turbot culture causing serious economic losses to the turbot industry. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms for disease resistance and host-pathogen interactions in this species. In this work, thousands of ESTs for functional genomic studies and potential markers linked to ESTs for mapping (microsatellites and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)) are provided. This information enabled us to obtain a preliminary view of regulated genes in response to these pathogens and it constitutes the basis for subsequent and more accurate microarray analysis.
A total of 12584 cDNAs partially sequenced from three different cDNA libraries of turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) infected with Aeromonas salmonicida, Philasterides dicentrarchi and from healthy fish were analyzed. Three immune-relevant tissues (liver, spleen and head kidney) were sampled at several time points in the infection process for library construction. The sequences were processed into 9256 high-quality sequences, which constituted the source for the turbot EST database. Clustering and assembly of these sequences, revealed 3482 different putative transcripts, 1073 contigs and 2409 singletons. BLAST searches with public databases detected significant similarity (e-value ≤ 1e-5) in 1766 (50.7%) sequences and 816 of them (23.4%) could be functionally annotated. Two hundred three of these genes (24.9%), encoding for defence/immune-related proteins, were mostly identified for the first time in turbot. Some ESTs showed significant differences in the number of transcripts when comparing the three libraries, suggesting regulation in response to these pathogens. A total of 191 microsatellites, with 104 having sufficient flanking sequences for primer design, and 1158 putative SNPs were identified from these EST resources in turbot.
A collection of 9256 high-quality ESTs was generated representing 3482 unique turbot sequences. A large proportion of defence/immune-related genes were identified, many of them regulated in response to specific pathogens. Putative microsatellites and SNPs were identified. These genome resources constitute the basis to develop a microarray for functional genomics studies and marker validation for genetic linkage and QTL analysis in turbot.
PMCID: PMC2569028  PMID: 18817567
7.  Endemic Circulation of European Bat Lyssavirus Type 1 in Serotine Bats, Spain 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2008;14(8):1263-1266.
To determine the presence of European bat lyssavirus type 1 in southern Spain, we studied 19 colonies of serotine bats (Eptesicus isabellinus), its main reservoir, during 1998–2003. Viral genome and antibodies were detected in healthy bats, which suggests subclinical infection. The different temporal patterns of circulation found in each colony indicate independent endemic circulation.
PMCID: PMC2600403  PMID: 18680651
lyssavirus; bats; surveillance; rabies; dispatch
8.  Screening of Active Lyssavirus Infection in Wild Bat Populations by Viral RNA Detection on Oropharyngeal Swabs 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2001;39(10):3678-3683.
Brain analysis cannot be used for the investigation of active lyssavirus infection in healthy bats because most bat species are protected by conservation directives. Consequently, serology remains the only tool for performing virological studies on natural bat populations; however, the presence of antibodies merely reflects past exposure to the virus and is not a valid marker of active infection. This work describes a new nested reverse transcription (RT)-PCR technique specifically designed for the detection of the European bat virus 1 on oropharyngeal swabs obtained from bats but also able to amplify RNA from the remaining rabies-related lyssaviruses in brain samples. The technique was successfully used for surveillance of a serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) colony involved in a case of human exposure, in which 15 out of 71 oropharyngeal swabs were positive. Lyssavirus infection was detected on 13 oropharyngeal swabs but in only 5 brains out of the 34 animals from which simultaneous brain and oropharyngeal samples had been taken. The lyssavirus involved could be rapidly identified by automatic sequencing of the RT-PCR products obtained from 14 brains and three bat oropharyngeal swabs. In conclusion, RT-PCR using oropharyngeal swabs will permit screening of wild bat populations for active lyssavirus infection, for research or epidemiological purposes, in line not only with conservation policies but also in a more efficient manner than classical detection techniques used on the brain.
PMCID: PMC88406  PMID: 11574590

Results 1-8 (8)