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1.  Mutations in HNF1A Result in Marked Alterations of Plasma Glycan Profile 
Diabetes  2013;62(4):1329-1337.
A recent genome-wide association study identified hepatocyte nuclear factor 1-α (HNF1A) as a key regulator of fucosylation. We hypothesized that loss-of-function HNF1A mutations causal for maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) would display altered fucosylation of N-linked glycans on plasma proteins and that glycan biomarkers could improve the efficiency of a diagnosis of HNF1A-MODY. In a pilot comparison of 33 subjects with HNF1A-MODY and 41 subjects with type 2 diabetes, 15 of 29 glycan measurements differed between the two groups. The DG9-glycan index, which is the ratio of fucosylated to nonfucosylated triantennary glycans, provided optimum discrimination in the pilot study and was examined further among additional subjects with HNF1A-MODY (n = 188), glucokinase (GCK)-MODY (n = 118), hepatocyte nuclear factor 4-α (HNF4A)-MODY (n = 40), type 1 diabetes (n = 98), type 2 diabetes (n = 167), and nondiabetic controls (n = 98). The DG9-glycan index was markedly lower in HNF1A-MODY than in controls or other diabetes subtypes, offered good discrimination between HNF1A-MODY and both type 1 and type 2 diabetes (C statistic ≥0.90), and enabled us to detect three previously undetected HNF1A mutations in patients with diabetes. In conclusion, glycan profiles are altered substantially in HNF1A-MODY, and the DG9-glycan index has potential clinical value as a diagnostic biomarker of HNF1A dysfunction.
doi:10.2337/db12-0880
PMCID: PMC3609552  PMID: 23274891
2.  Utilizing DNA analysis to combat the world wide plague of present day slavery – trafficking in persons 
Croatian Medical Journal  2014;55(1):3-8.
A study was conducted to determine if modern forensic DNA typing methods can be properly employed throughout the world with a final goal of increasing arrests, prosecutions, and convictions of perpetrators of modern day trafficking in persons while concurrently reducing the burden of victim testimony in legal proceedings. Without interruption of investigations, collection of samples containing DNA was conducted in a variety of settings. Evidentiary samples were analyzed on the ANDE Rapid DNA system. Many of the collected swabs yielded informative short tandem repeat profiles with Rapid DNA technology.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2014.55.3
PMCID: PMC3944412  PMID: 24577820
4.  Analysis of 8 X-chromosomal markers in the population of central Croatia 
Croatian Medical Journal  2013;54(3):238-247.
Aim
To analyze 8 X-linked short tandem repeat (STR) markers in the population of central Croatia and to evaluate their forensic efficiency.
Methods
We carried out a statistical analysis of the data from previously performed genetic analyses, collected during routine forensic work by the Forensic Science Centre ‘‘Ivan Vučetić.’’ Mentype® Argus X-8 PCR amplification kit was used for typing the data of 99 unrelated healthy women and 78 men from central Croatia. Haplotype frequencies were calculated only in male samples. Arlequin 3.5 software was used to assess Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE), linkage disequilibrium (LD), observed and expected heterozygosity. Power of discrimination (PD) for men and women, polymorphism information content (PIC), power of exclusion, and mean exclusion chance for deficiency cases, normal trios, and duos were determined using online database ChrX-STR.org.
Results
In female samples, deviations from HWE (P = 0.006) for each locus were not found. LD test performed both on female and male samples revealed no significant association between markers (P = 0.002). DXS10135 was the most polymorphic locus (PIC = 0.931). PD varied from 0.692 to 0.935 in male and from 0.845 to 0.992 in female samples. Combined PD reached 99.999999% in men and 99.9999999999% in women.
Conclusion
Performed analyses revealed that the studied marker set contained polymorphic markers with high power of discrimination. We can conclude that Mentype® Argus X-8 PCR kit is suitable for application in the population of central Croatia. Results of this study, together with collected allele and haplotype frequencies, are the first step in establishing a national reference X-STR database based on 8 X-STR loci.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2013.54.238
PMCID: PMC3692332  PMID: 23771754
5.  Effect of ultraviolet C radiation on biological samples 
Croatian Medical Journal  2013;54(3):263-271.
Aim
To examine the influence of ultraviolet C (UVC) radiation on blood, saliva, semen, and naked DNA samples for preventing DNA cross-contamination on working surfaces in laboratories.
Methods
Blood, saliva, semen, and DNA isolated from buccal swab samples were obtained from a single male donor and applied to the laboratory working surfaces. UVC radiation was applied to these diluted and undiluted samples with or without previous decontamination of the working surfaces with 10% sodium hypochlorite and 20% ethanol. Genomic DNA was extracted using Chelex. After quantification, DNA was amplified using the AmpFlSTR® NGM™ PCR Amplification Kit. We tested and statistically analyzed DNA concentration, UVC dose, sample volume, radiation time, the number of correctly detected alleles on genetic loci, and the number of correctly detected alleles in four groups in which 16 loci were divided.
Results
When working surfaces were not decontaminated and were treated only with UVC radiation in the laboratory, the genetic profile for naked DNA could not be obtained after 2 minutes of UVC radiation and for saliva after 54 hours. For blood and semen, a partial genetic profile was obtained even after 250 hours of UVC radiation in the laminar. When working surfaces were decontaminated with 10% sodium hypochlorite and 20% ethanol, genetic profile could not be obtained for naked DNA after 2 minutes, for saliva after 4 hours, for blood after 16 hours, and for semen after 8 hours of UVC radiation in the laboratory.
Conclusion
It is recommended to carefully and thoroughly clean working surfaces with 10% sodium hypochlorite and 20% ethanol followed by minimal 16-hour UVC exposure (dose approximately 4380 mJ/cm2) for complete and successful decontamination.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2013.54.263
PMCID: PMC3692334  PMID: 23771757
6.  Haplotype data for 23 Y-chromosome markers in a reference sample from Bosnia and Herzegovina 
Croatian Medical Journal  2013;54(3):286-290.
Aim
To detect polymorphisms of 23 Y-chromosomal short tandem repeat (STR) loci, including 6 new loci, in a reference database of male population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as to assess the importance of increasing the number of Y-STR loci utilized in forensic DNA analysis.
Methods
The reference sample consisted of 100 healthy, unrelated men originating from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sample collection using buccal swabs was performed in all geographical regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the period from 2010 to 2011. DNA samples were typed for 23 Y STR loci, including 6 new loci: DYS576, DYS481, DYS549, DYS533, DYS570, and DYS643, which are included in the new PowerPlex® Y 23 amplification kit.
Results
The absolute frequency of generated haplotypes was calculated and results showed that 98 samples had unique Y 23 haplotypes, and that only two samples shared the same haplotype. The most polymorphic locus was DYS418, with 14 detected alleles and the least polymorphic loci were DYS389I, DYS391, DYS437, and DYS393.
Conclusion
This study showed that by increasing the number of highly polymorphic Y STR markers, to include those tested in our analysis, leads to a reduction of repeating haplotypes, which is very important in the application of forensic DNA analysis.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2013.54.286
PMCID: PMC3692337  PMID: 23771760
8.  Forensic DNA databases in Western Balkan region: retrospectives, perspectives, and initiatives 
Croatian Medical Journal  2011;52(3):235-244.
The European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) recommended the establishment of forensic DNA databases and specific implementation and management legislations for all EU/ENFSI members. Therefore, forensic institutions from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia launched a wide set of activities to support these recommendations. To assess the current state, a regional expert team completed detailed screening and investigation of the existing forensic DNA data repositories and associated legislation in these countries. The scope also included relevant concurrent projects and a wide spectrum of different activities in relation to forensics DNA use. The state of forensic DNA analysis was also determined in the neighboring Slovenia and Croatia, which already have functional national DNA databases. There is a need for a ‘regional supplement’ to the current documentation and standards pertaining to forensic application of DNA databases, which should include regional-specific preliminary aims and recommendations.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2011.52.235
PMCID: PMC3118707  PMID: 21674821
9.  Croatian genetic heritage: Y-chromosome story 
Croatian Medical Journal  2011;52(3):225-234.
The aim of this article is to offer a concise interpretation of the scientific data about the topic of Croatian genetic heritage that was obtained over the past 10 years. We made a short overview of previously published articles by our and other groups, based mostly on Y-chromosome results. The data demonstrate that Croatian human population, as almost any other European population, represents remarkable genetic mixture. More than 3/4 of the contemporary Croatian men are most probably the offspring of Old Europeans who came here before and after the Last Glacial Maximum. The rest of the population is the offspring of the people who were arriving in this part of Europe through the southeastern route in the last 10 000 years, mostly during the neolithization process. We believe that the latest discoveries made with the techniques for whole-genome typing using the array technology, will help us understand the structure of Croatian population in more detail, as well as the aspects of its demographic history.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2011.52.225
PMCID: PMC3118711  PMID: 21674820
10.  Association of NOS3 tag polymorphisms with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy 
Croatian Medical Journal  2011;52(3):396-402.
Aim
To test the association of NOS3 gene with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
Methods
The study included 110 unrelated term or preterm born children (69 boys and 41 girls) with HIE and 128 term and preterm born children (60 boys and 68 girls) without any neurological problems after the second year of life. Children with perinatal HIE fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for perinatal asphyxia. All children were admitted to the Clinical Hospital Split between 1992 and 2008. We analyzed 6 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) within NOS3 gene (rs3918186, rs3918188, rs1800783, rs1808593, rs3918227, rs1799983), in addition to previously confirmed NOS3-associated SNP rs1800779. Genotyping was conducted using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Association analyses were performed according to allelic and genotypic distribution.
Results
Allelic test did not show any SNP association with HIE. SNP rs1808593 showed genotype association (P = 0.008) and rs1800783-rs1800779 TG haplotype showed an association with HIE (P < 0.001). The study had 80% statistical power to detect (α = 0.05) an effect with odds ratio (OR) = 2.07 for rs3918186, OR = 1.69 for rs3918188, OR = 1.70 for rs1800783, OR = 1.80 for rs1808593, OR = 2.10 for rs3918227, OR = 1.68 for rs1800779, and OR = 1.76 for rs1799983, assuming an additive model.
Conclusion
Despite the limited number of HIE patients, we observed genotypic and haplotype associations of NOS3 polymorphisms with HIE.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2011.52.396
PMCID: PMC3118712  PMID: 21674837
11.  Separating the post-Glacial coancestry of European and Asian Y chromosomes within haplogroup R1a 
Human Y-chromosome haplogroup structure is largely circumscribed by continental boundaries. One notable exception to this general pattern is the young haplogroup R1a that exhibits post-Glacial coalescent times and relates the paternal ancestry of more than 10% of men in a wide geographic area extending from South Asia to Central East Europe and South Siberia. Its origin and dispersal patterns are poorly understood as no marker has yet been described that would distinguish European R1a chromosomes from Asian. Here we present frequency and haplotype diversity estimates for more than 2000 R1a chromosomes assessed for several newly discovered SNP markers that introduce the onset of informative R1a subdivisions by geography. Marker M434 has a low frequency and a late origin in West Asia bearing witness to recent gene flow over the Arabian Sea. Conversely, marker M458 has a significant frequency in Europe, exceeding 30% in its core area in Eastern Europe and comprising up to 70% of all M17 chromosomes present there. The diversity and frequency profiles of M458 suggest its origin during the early Holocene and a subsequent expansion likely related to a number of prehistoric cultural developments in the region. Its primary frequency and diversity distribution correlates well with some of the major Central and East European river basins where settled farming was established before its spread further eastward. Importantly, the virtual absence of M458 chromosomes outside Europe speaks against substantial patrilineal gene flow from East Europe to Asia, including to India, at least since the mid-Holocene.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2009.194
PMCID: PMC2987245  PMID: 19888303
Y chromosome; haplogroup R1a; human evolution; population genetics
12.  Identification of Skeletal Remains of Communist Armed Forces Victims During and After World War II: Combined Y-chromosome Short Tandem Repeat (STR) and MiniSTR Approach 
Croatian Medical Journal  2009;50(3):296-304.
Aim
To report on the use of STR, Y-STRs, and miniSTRs typing methods in the identification of victims of revolutionary violence and crimes against humanity committed by the Communist Armed Forces during and after World War II in which bodies were exhumed from mass and individual graves in Slovenia.
Methods
Bone fragments and teeth were removed from human remains found in several small and closely located hidden mass graves in the Škofja Loka area (Lovrenska Grapa and Žolšče) and 2 individual graves in the Ljubljana area (Podlipoglav), Slovenia. DNA was isolated using the Qiagen DNA extraction procedure optimized for bone and teeth. Some DNA extracts required additional purification, such as N-buthanol treatment. The QuantifilerTM Human DNA Quantification Kit was used for DNA quantification. Initially, PowerPlex 16 kit was used to simultaneously analyze 15 short tandem repeat (STR) loci. The PowerPlex S5 miniSTR kit and AmpFℓSTR® MiniFiler PCR Amplification Kit was used for additional analysis if preliminary analysis yielded weak partial or no profiles at all. In 2 cases, when the PowerPlex 16 profiles indicated possible relatedness of the remains with reference samples, but there were insufficient probabilities to call the match to possible male paternal relatives, we resorted to an additional analysis of Y-STR markers. PowerPlex® Y System was used to simultaneously amplify 12 Y-STR loci. Fragment analysis was performed on an ABI PRISM 310 genetic analyzer. Matching probabilities were estimated using the DNA-View software.
Results
Following the Y-STR analysis, 1 of the “weak matches” previously obtained based on autosomal loci, was confirmed while the other 1 was not. Combined standard STR and miniSTR approach applied to bone samples from 2 individual graves resulted in positive identifications. Finally, using the same approach on 11 bone samples from hidden mass grave Žološče, we were able to obtain 6 useful DNA profiles.
Conclusion
The results of this study, in combination with previously obtained results, demonstrate that Y-chromosome testing and miniSTR methodology can contribute to the identification of human remains of victims of revolutionary violence from World War II.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2009.50.296
PMCID: PMC2705010  PMID: 19480024
15.  Y-chromosomal evidence of the cultural diffusion of agriculture in southeast Europe 
The debate concerning the mechanisms underlying the prehistoric spread of farming to Southeast Europe is framed around the opposing roles of population movement and cultural diffusion. To investigate the possible involvement of local people during the transition of agriculture in the Balkans, we analysed patterns of Y-chromosome diversity in 1206 subjects from 17 population samples, mainly from Southeast Europe. Evidence from three Y-chromosome lineages, I-M423, E-V13 and J-M241, make it possible to distinguish between Holocene Mesolithic forager and subsequent Neolithic range expansions from the eastern Sahara and the Near East, respectively. In particular, whereas the Balkan microsatellite variation associated to J-M241 correlates with the Neolithic period, those related to E-V13 and I-M423 Balkan Y chromosomes are consistent with a late Mesolithic time frame. In addition, the low frequency and variance associated to I-M423 and E-V13 in Anatolia and the Middle East, support an European Mesolithic origin of these two clades. Thus, these Balkan Mesolithic foragers with their own autochthonous genetic signatures, were destined to become the earliest to adopt farming, when it was subsequently introduced by a cadre of migrating farmers from the Near East. These initial local converted farmers became the principal agents spreading this economy using maritime leapfrog colonization strategies in the Adriatic and transmitting the Neolithic cultural package to other adjacent Mesolithic populations. The ensuing range expansions of E-V13 and I-M423 parallel in space and time the diffusion of Neolithic Impressed Ware, thereby supporting a case of cultural diffusion using genetic evidence.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2008.249
PMCID: PMC2947100  PMID: 19107149
Balkan Neolithic; farming transition; peopling of Europe; Y-chromosome haplogroups
16.  DNA Identification of Skeletal Remains from World War II Mass Graves Uncovered in Slovenia 
Croatian medical journal  2007;48(4):513-519.
Aim
To present the joint effort of three institutions in the identification of human remains from the World War II found in two mass graves in the area of Škofja Loka, Slovenia.
Methods
The remains of 27 individuals were found in two small and closely located mass graves. The DNA was isolated from bone and teeth samples using either standard phenol/chloroform alcohol extraction or optimized Qiagen DNA extraction procedure. Some recovered samples required the employment of additional DNA purification methods, such as N-buthanol treatment. QuantifilerTM Human DNA Quantification Kit was used for DNA quantification. PowerPlex 16 kit was used to simultaneously amplify 15 short tandem repeat (STR) loci. Matching probabilities were estimated using the DNA View program.
Results
Out of all processed samples, 15 remains were fully profiled at all 15 STR loci. The other 12 profiles were partial. The least successful profile included 13 loci. Also, 69 referent samples (buccal swabs) from potential living relatives were collected and profiled. Comparison of victims' profile against referent samples database resulted in 4 strong matches. In addition, 5 other profiles were matched to certain referent samples with lower probability.
Conclusion
Our results show that more than 6 decades after the end of the World War II, DNA analysis may significantly contribute to the identification of the remains from that period. Additional analysis of Y-STRs and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers will be performed in the second phase of the identification project.
PMCID: PMC2080561  PMID: 17696306
17.  Allele Frequencies for 15 Short Tandem Repeat Loci in Representative Sample of Croatian Population 
Croatian medical journal  2007;48(4):473-477.
Aim
To study the distribution of allele frequencies of 15 short tandem repeat (STR) loci in a representative sample of the Croatian population.
Methods
A total of 195 unrelated Caucasian individuals born in Croatia, from 14 counties and the City of Zagreb, were sampled for the analysis. All the tested individuals were voluntary donors. Buccal swab was used as the DNA source. AmpFlSTR® Identifiler® was applied to simultaneously amplify 15 STR loci. Total reaction volume was 12.5 μL. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification was carried out in PE Gene Amp PCR System Thermal Cycler. Electrophoresis of the amplification products was preformed on an ABI PRISM 3130 Genetic Analyzer. After PCR amplification and separation by electrophoresis, raw data were compiled, analyzed, and numerical allele designations of the profiles were obtained. Deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, observed and expected heterozygosity, power of discrimination, and power of exclusion were calculated. Bonferroni’s correction was used before each comparative analysis.
Results
We compared Croatian data with those obtained from geographically neighboring European populations. The significant difference (at P<0.01) in allele frequencies was recorded only between the Croatian and Slovenian populations for vWA locus. There was no significant deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium for all the observed loci.
Conclusion
Obtained population data concurred with the expected “STR data frame” for this part of Europe.
PMCID: PMC2080557  PMID: 17696301
18.  Tracking Col1a1 RNA in Osteogenesis Imperfecta 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;150(3):417-432.
This study illuminates the intra-nuclear fate of COL1A1 RNA in osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) Type I. Patient fibroblasts were shown to carry a heterozygous defect in splicing of intron 26, blocking mRNA export. Both the normal and mutant allele associated with a nuclear RNA track, a localized accumulation of posttranscriptional RNA emanating to one side of the gene. Both tracks had slightly elongated or globular morphology, but mutant tracks were cytologically distinct in that they lacked the normal polar distribution of intron 26. Normal COL1A1 RNA tracks distribute throughout an SC-35 domain, from the gene at the periphery. Normally, almost all 50 COL1A1 introns are spliced at or adjacent to the gene, before mRNA transits thru the domain. Normal COL1A1 transcripts may undergo maturation needed for export within the domain such as removal of a slow-splicing intron (shown for intron 24), after which they may disperse. Splice-defective transcripts still distribute thru the SC-35 domain, moving ∼1–3 μm from the gene. However, microfluorimetric analyses demonstrate mutant transcripts accumulate to abnormal levels within the track and domain. Hence, mutant transcripts initiate transport from the gene, but are impeded in exit from the SC-35 domain. This identifies a previously undefined step in mRNA export, involving movement through an SC-35 domain. A model is presented in which maturation and release for export of COL1A1 mRNA is linked to rapid cycling of metabolic complexes within the splicing factor domain, adjacent to the gene. This paradigm may apply to SC-35 domains more generally, which we suggest may be nucleated at sites of high demand and comprise factors being actively used to facilitate expression of associated loci.
PMCID: PMC2175183  PMID: 10931857
osteogenesis imperfecta; RNA transport; RNA splicing; nuclear structure; collagen
19.  Can Croatia Join Europe as Competitive Knowledge-based Society by 2010? 
Croatian medical journal  2006;47(6):809-824.
The 21st century has brought important changes in the paradigms of economic development, one of them being a shift toward recognizing knowledge and information as the most important factors of today. The European Union (EU) has been working hard to become the most competitive knowledge-based society in the world, and Croatia, an EU candidate country, has been faced with a similar task. To establish itself as one of the best knowledge-based country in the Eastern European region over the next four years, Croatia realized it has to create an education and science system correspondent with European standards and sensitive to labor market needs. For that purpose, the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education, and Sports (MSES) has created and started implementing a complex strategy, consisting of the following key components: the reform of education system in accordance with the Bologna Declaration; stimulation of scientific production by supporting national and international research projects; reversing the “brain drain” into “brain gain” and strengthening the links between science and technology; and informatization of the whole education and science system. In this comprehensive report, we describe the implementation of these measures, whose coordination with the EU goals presents a challenge, as well as an opportunity for Croatia to become a knowledge-based society by 2010.
PMCID: PMC2080484  PMID: 17167853

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