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1.  Impact of the Genetic Background on the Composition of the Chicken Plasma MiRNome in Response to a Stress 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114598.
Circulating extra-cellular microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as promising minimally invasive markers in human medicine. We evaluated miRNAs isolated from total plasma as biomarker candidates of a response to an abiotic stress (feed deprivation) in a livestock species. Two chicken lines selected for high (R+) and low (R−) residual feed intake were chosen as an experimental model because of their extreme divergence in feed intake and energy metabolism. Adult R+ and R− cocks were sampled after 16 hours of feed deprivation and again four hours after re-feeding. More than 292 million sequence reads were generated by small RNA-seq of total plasma RNA. A total of 649 mature miRNAs were identified; after quality filtering, 148 miRNAs were retained for further analyses. We identified 23 and 19 differentially abundant miRNAs between feeding conditions and between lines respectively, with only two miRNAs identified in both comparisons. We validated a panel of six differentially abundant miRNAs by RT-qPCR on a larger number of plasma samples and checked their response to feed deprivation in liver. Finally, we evaluated the conservation and tissue distribution of differentially abundant miRNAs in plasma across a variety of red jungle fowl tissues. We show that the chicken plasma miRNome reacts promptly to the alteration of the animal physiological condition driven by a feed deprivation stress. The plasma content of stress-responsive miRNAs is strongly influenced by the genetic background, with differences reflecting the phenotypic divergence acquired through long-term selection, as evidenced by the profiles of conserved miRNAs with a regulatory role in energy metabolism (gga-miR-204, gga-miR-let-7f-5p and gga-miR-122-5p). These results reinforce the emerging view in human medicine that even small genetic differences can have a considerable impact on the resolution of biomarker studies, and provide support for the emerging interest in miRNAs as potential novel and minimally invasive biomarkers for livestock species.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114598
PMCID: PMC4256448  PMID: 25473826
2.  Transcriptome-wide investigation of genomic imprinting in chicken 
Nucleic Acids Research  2014;42(6):3768-3782.
Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic mechanism by which alleles of some specific genes are expressed in a parent-of-origin manner. It has been observed in mammals and marsupials, but not in birds. Until now, only a few genes orthologous to mammalian imprinted ones have been analyzed in chicken and did not demonstrate any evidence of imprinting in this species. However, several published observations such as imprinted-like QTL in poultry or reciprocal effects keep the question open. Our main objective was thus to screen the entire chicken genome for parental-allele-specific differential expression on whole embryonic transcriptomes, using high-throughput sequencing. To identify the parental origin of each observed haplotype, two chicken experimental populations were used, as inbred and as genetically distant as possible. Two families were produced from two reciprocal crosses. Transcripts from 20 embryos were sequenced using NGS technology, producing ∼200 Gb of sequences. This allowed the detection of 79 potentially imprinted SNPs, through an analysis method that we validated by detecting imprinting from mouse data already published. However, out of 23 candidates tested by pyrosequencing, none could be confirmed. These results come together, without a priori, with previous statements and phylogenetic considerations assessing the absence of genomic imprinting in chicken.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkt1390
PMCID: PMC3973300  PMID: 24452801
3.  Global variation in copy number in the human genome 
Nature  2006;444(7118):444-454.
Copy number variation (CNV) of DNA sequences is functionally significant but has yet to be fully ascertained. We have constructed a first-generation CNV map of the human genome through the study of 270 individuals from four populations with ancestry in Europe, Africa or Asia (the HapMap collection). DNA from these individuals was screened for CNV using two complementary technologies: single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping arrays, and clone-based comparative genomic hybridization. 1,447 copy number variable regions covering 360 megabases (12% of the genome) were identified in these populations; these CNV regions contained hundreds of genes, disease loci, functional elements and segmental duplications. Strikingly, these CNVs encompassed more nucleotide content per genome than SNPs, underscoring the importance of CNV in genetic diversity and evolution. The data obtained delineate linkage disequilibrium patterns for many CNVs, and reveal dramatic variation in copy number among populations. We also demonstrate the utility of this resource for genetic disease studies.
doi:10.1038/nature05329
PMCID: PMC2669898  PMID: 17122850
4.  Geographical Affinities of the HapMap Samples 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(3):e4684.
Background
The HapMap samples were collected for medical-genetic studies, but are also widely used in population-genetic and evolutionary investigations. Yet the ascertainment of the samples differs from most population-genetic studies which collect individuals who live in the same local region as their ancestors. What effects could this non-standard ascertainment have on the interpretation of HapMap results?
Methodology/Principal Findings
We compared the HapMap samples with more conventionally-ascertained samples used in population- and forensic-genetic studies, including the HGDP-CEPH panel, making use of published genome-wide autosomal SNP data and Y-STR haplotypes, as well as producing new Y-STR data. We found that the HapMap samples were representative of their broad geographical regions of ancestry according to all tests applied. The YRI and JPT were indistinguishable from independent samples of Yoruba and Japanese in all ways investigated. However, both the CHB and the CEU were distinguishable from all other HGDP-CEPH populations with autosomal markers, and both showed Y-STR similarities to unusually large numbers of populations, perhaps reflecting their admixed origins.
Conclusions/Significance
The CHB and JPT are readily distinguished from one another with both autosomal and Y-chromosomal markers, and results obtained after combining them into a single sample should be interpreted with caution. The CEU are better described as being of Western European ancestry than of Northern European ancestry as often reported. Both the CHB and CEU show subtle but detectable signs of admixture. Thus the YRI and JPT samples are well-suited to standard population-genetic studies, but the CHB and CEU less so.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004684
PMCID: PMC2649532  PMID: 19259268
5.  Y-chromosomal insights into the genetic impact of the caste system in India 
Human genetics  2006;121(1):137-144.
The caste system has persisted in Indian Hindu society for around 3,500 years. Like the Y chromosome, caste is defined at birth, and males cannot change their caste. In order to investigate the genetic consequences of this system, we have analysed male-lineage variation in a sample of 227 Indian men of known caste, 141 from the Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh and 86 from the rest of India. We typed 131 Y-chromosomal binary markers and 16 microsatellites. We find striking evidence for male substructure: in particular, Brahmins and Kshatriyas (but not other castes) from Jaunpur each show low diversity and the predominance of a single distinct cluster of haplotypes. These findings confirm the genetic isolation and drift within the Jaunpur upper castes, which are likely to result from founder effects and social factors. In the other castes, there may be either larger effective population sizes, or less strict isolation, or both.
doi:10.1007/s00439-006-0282-2
PMCID: PMC2590678  PMID: 17075717
Y chromosome; haplotype; human population substructure; Indian caste system
6.  CENP-A Is Required for Accurate Chromosome Segregation and Sustained Kinetochore Association of BubR1 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(10):3967-3981.
CENP-A is an evolutionarily conserved, centromere-specific variant of histone H3 that is thought to play a central role in directing kinetochore assembly and in centromere function. Here, we have analyzed the consequences of disrupting the CENP-A gene in the chicken DT40 cell line. In CENP-A-depleted cells, kinetochore protein assembly is impaired, as indicated by mislocalization of the inner kinetochore proteins CENP-I, CENP-H, and CENP-C as well as the outer components Nuf2/Hec1, Mad2, and CENP-E. However, BubR1 and the inner centromere protein INCENP are efficiently recruited to kinetochores. Following CENP-A depletion, chromosomes are deficient in proper congression on the mitotic spindle and there is a transient delay in prometaphase. CENP-A-depleted cells further proceed through anaphase and cytokinesis with unequal chromosome segregation, suggesting that some kinetochore function remains following substantial depletion of CENP-A. We furthermore demonstrate that CENP-A-depleted cells exhibit a specific defect in maintaining kinetochore localization of the checkpoint protein BubR1 under conditions of checkpoint activation. Our data thus point to a specific role for CENP-A in assembly of kinetochores competent in the maintenance of mitotic checkpoint signaling.
doi:10.1128/MCB.25.10.3967-3981.2005
PMCID: PMC1087704  PMID: 15870271
7.  Identification and characterisation of novel human Y-chromosomal microsatellites from sequence database information 
Nucleic Acids Research  2000;28(2):e8.
1.33 Mb of sequence from the human Y chromosome was searched for tri- to hexanucleotide microsatellites. Twenty loci containing a stretch of eight or more repeat units with complete repeat sequence homogeneity were found, 18 of which were novel. Six loci (one tri-, four tetra- and one pentanucleotide) were assembled into a single multiplex reaction and their degree of polymorphism was investigated in a sample of 278 males from Pakistan. Diversities of the individual loci ranged from 0.064 to 0.727 in Pakistan, while the haplotype diversity was 0.971. One population, the Hazara, showed particularly low diversity, with predominantly two haplotypes. As the sequence builds up in the databases, direct methods such as this will replace more biased and technically demanding indirect methods for the isolation of microsatellites.
PMCID: PMC102540  PMID: 10606676

Results 1-7 (7)