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1.  ‘Omics’ biomarkers associated with chronic low back pain: protocol of a retrospective longitudinal study 
BMJ Open  2016;6(10):e012070.
Introduction
Chronic low back pain (CLBP) produces considerable direct costs as well as indirect burdens for society, industry and health systems. CLBP is characterised by heterogeneity, inclusion of several pain syndromes, different underlying molecular pathologies and interaction with psychosocial factors that leads to a range of clinical manifestations. There is still much to understand in the underlying pathological processes and the non-psychosocial factors which account for differences in outcomes. Biomarkers that may be objectively used for diagnosis and personalised, targeted and cost-effective treatment are still lacking. Therefore, any data that may be obtained at the ‘-omics’ level (glycomics, Activomics and genome-wide association studies—GWAS) may be helpful to use as dynamic biomarkers for elucidating CLBP pathogenesis and may ultimately provide prognostic information too. By means of a retrospective, observational, case-cohort, multicentre study, we aim to investigate new promising biomarkers potentially able to solve some of the issues related to CLBP.
Methods and analysis
The study follows a two-phase, 1:2 case–control model. A total of 12 000 individuals (4000 cases and 8000 controls) will be enrolled; clinical data will be registered, with particular attention to pain characteristics and outcomes of pain treatments. Blood samples will be collected to perform -omics studies. The primary objective is to recognise genetic variants associated with CLBP; secondary objectives are to study glycomics and Activomics profiles associated with CLBP.
Ethics and dissemination
The study is part of the PainOMICS project funded by European Community in the Seventh Framework Programme. The study has been approved from competent ethical bodies and copies of approvals were provided to the European Commission before starting the study. Results of the study will be reviewed by the Scientific Board and Ethical Committee of the PainOMICS Consortium. The scientific results will be disseminated through peer-reviewed journals.
Trial registration number
NCT02037789; Pre-results.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012070
PMCID: PMC5073566  PMID: 27798002
CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN; GENOME-WIDE ASSOCIATION STUDY; GLYCOMICS; ACTIVOMICS
2.  Cultural inter-population differences do not reflect biological distances: an example of interdisciplinary analysis of populations from Eastern Adriatic coast 
Croatian Medical Journal  2015;56(3):230-238.
Aim
To compare the population group from the Šopot graveyard with population groups from traditional Croatian medieval graveyards by using anthropological, craniometrics, and mitochondrial (mtDNA) analysis and to examine if the cultural differences between population groups reflect biological differences.
Methods
We determined sex, age at death, pathological, and traumatic changes of skeletal remains from the Šopot graveyard and compared them with a cumulative medieval sample from the same region. We also performed principal component analysis to compare skeletal remains from Šopot with those from Ostrovica and other Central European samples according to 8 cranial measurements. Finally, we compared 46 skeletons from Šopot with medieval (Ostrovica) and contemporary populations using mDNA haplogroup profiling.
Results
The remains from Šopot were similar to the cumulative sample in lifestyle and quality of life markers. Principal component analysis showed that they were closely related to Eastern Adriatic coast sites (including Ostrovica and Šopot) in terms of cranial morphology, indicating similar biological makeup. According to mDNA testing, Šopot population showed no significant differences in the haplogroup prevalence from either medieval or contemporary populations.
Conclusion
This study shows that the Šopot population does not significantly differ from other medieval populations from this area. Besides similar quality of life markers, these populations also had similar biological markers. Substantial archeological differences can therefore be attributed to apparent cultural influences, which in this case do not reflect biological differences.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2015.56.230
PMCID: PMC4500963  PMID: 26088847
3.  Identification of human remains from the Second World War mass graves uncovered in Bosnia and Herzegovina 
Croatian Medical Journal  2015;56(3):257-262.
Aim
To present the results obtained in the identification of human remains from World War II found in two mass graves in Ljubuški, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Methods
Samples from 10 skeletal remains were collected. Teeth and femoral fragments were collected from 9 skeletons and only a femoral fragment from 1 skeleton. DNA was isolated from bone and teeth samples using an optimized phenol/chloroform DNA extraction procedure. All samples required a pre-extraction decalcification with EDTA and additional post-extraction DNA purification using filter columns. Additionally, DNA from 12 reference samples (buccal swabs from potential living relatives) was extracted using the Qiagen DNA extraction method. QuantifilerTM Human DNA Quantification Kit was used for DNA quantification. PowerPlex ESI kit was used to simultaneously amplify 15 autosomal short tandem repeat (STR) loci, and PowerPlex Y23 was used to amplify 23 Y chromosomal STR loci. Matching probabilities were estimated using a standard statistical approach.
Results
A total of 10 samples were processed, 9 teeth and 1 femoral fragment. Nine of 10 samples were profiled using autosomal STR loci, which resulted in useful DNA profiles for 9 skeletal remains. A comparison of established victims' profiles against a reference sample database yielded 6 positive identifications.
Conclusion
DNA analysis may efficiently contribute to the identification of remains even seven decades after the end of the World War II. The significant percentage of positively identified remains (60%), even when the number of the examined possible living relatives was relatively small (only 12), proved the importance of cooperation with the members of the local community, who helped to identify the closest missing persons’ relatives and collect referent samples from them.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2015.56.257
PMCID: PMC4500967  PMID: 26088850
4.  Synthetic vs natural scaffolds for human limbal stem cells 
Croatian Medical Journal  2015;56(3):246-256.
Aim
To investigate the impact of synthetic electrospun polyurethane (PU) and polycaprolactone (PCL) nanoscaffolds, before and after hydrolytic surface modification, on viability and differentiation of cultured human eye epithelial cells, in comparison with natural scaffolds: fibrin and human amniotic membrane.
Methods
Human placenta was taken at elective cesarean delivery. Fibrin scaffolds were prepared from commercial fibrin glue kits. Nanoscaffolds were fabricated by electrospinning. Limbal cells were isolated from surpluses of human cadaveric cornea and seeded on feeder 3T3 cells. The scaffolds used for viability testing and immunofluorescence analysis were amniotic membrane, fibrin, PU, and PCL nanoscaffolds, with or without prior NaOH treatment.
Results
Scanning electron microscope photographs of all tested scaffolds showed good colony spreading of seeded limbal cells. There was a significant difference in viability performance between cells with highest viability cultured on tissue culture plastic and cells cultured on all other scaffolds. On the other hand, electrospun PU, PCL, and electrospun PCL treated with NaOH had more than 80% of limbal cells positive for stem cell marker p63 compared to only 27%of p63 positive cells on fibrin.
Conclusion
Natural scaffolds, fibrin and amniotic membrane, showed better cell viability than electrospun scaffolds. On the contrary, high percentages of p63 positive cells obtained on these scaffolds still makes them good candidates for efficient delivery systems for therapeutic purposes.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2015.56.246
PMCID: PMC4500975  PMID: 26088849
5.  Estimation of human age using N-glycan profiles from bloodstains 
Protein glycosylation is the most common epiproteomic modification involved in numerous physiological and pathological processes. Previous studies reported strong associations between human plasma N-glycans and age, prompting us to evaluate the potential application of this biological phenomenon in the field of forensics. Blood from 526 blood donors from different parts of Croatia was collected on bloodstain cards during the period 2004–2007 and stored at 4°C for 6–9 years. Glycosylation profiles of the bloodstains were analysed using hydrophilic interaction ultra performance liquid chromatography (HILIC-UPLC) and divided into 38 glycan groups (GP1-GP38). A statistically significant correlation between N-glycan profiles of bloodstains and chronological age was found and a statistical model that can be used for the age prediction was designed (Age = 75.59 – 5.15 × (GP4)2+ 17.07 × GP6 – 5.30 × (GP10)2 – 16.56 × GP16 + 20.07 × GP20 – 7.54 × (GP20)2 + 16.47 × GP22). This model explains 47.78 % of the variation in age, with a prediction error of 9.07 years. Our findings demonstrate that analysing the N-glycan profile could be a new tool in forensics, offering an approximate human age estimation from dried bloodstains found at a crime scene.
doi:10.1007/s00414-015-1162-x
PMCID: PMC4550657  PMID: 25787342
Bloodstain; N-glycosylation; Aging; Age estimation
6.  Genetic analysis of haplotype data for 23 Y-chromosome short tandem repeat loci in the Turkish population recently settled in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 
Croatian Medical Journal  2014;55(5):530-536.
Aim
To explore the distribution and polymorphisms of 23 short tandem repeat (STR) loci on the Y chromosome in the Turkish population recently settled in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and to investigate its genetic relationships with the homeland Turkish population and neighboring populations.
Methods
This study included 100 healthy unrelated male individuals from the Turkish population living in Sarajevo. Buccal swab samples were collected as a DNA source. Genomic DNA was extracted using the salting out method and amplification was performed using PowerPlex Y 23 amplification kit. The studied population was compared to other populations using pairwise genetic distances, which were represented with a multi-dimensional scaling plot.
Results
Haplotype and allele frequencies of the sample population were calculated and the results showed that all 100 samples had unique haplotypes. The most polymorphic locus was DYS458, and the least polymorphic DYS391. The observed haplotype diversity was 1.0000 ± 0.0014, with a discrimination capacity of 1.00 and the match probability of 0.01. Rst values showed that our sample population was closely related in both dimensions to the Lebanese and Iraqi populations, while it was more distant from Bosnian, Croatian, and Macedonian populations.
Conclusion
Turkish population residing in Sarajevo could be observed as a representative Turkish population, since our results were consistent with those previously published for the homeland Turkish population. Also, this study once again proved that geographically close populations were genetically more related to each other.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2014.55.530
PMCID: PMC4228289  PMID: 25358886
7.  Standing at the Gateway to Europe - The Genetic Structure of Western Balkan Populations Based on Autosomal and Haploid Markers 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105090.
Contemporary inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula belong to several ethnic groups of diverse cultural background. In this study, three ethnic groups from Bosnia and Herzegovina - Bosniacs, Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs - as well as the populations of Serbians, Croatians, Macedonians from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegrins and Kosovars have been characterized for the genetic variation of 660 000 genome-wide autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms and for haploid markers. New autosomal data of the 70 individuals together with previously published data of 20 individuals from the populations of the Western Balkan region in a context of 695 samples of global range have been analysed. Comparison of the variation data of autosomal and haploid lineages of the studied Western Balkan populations reveals a concordance of the data in both sets and the genetic uniformity of the studied populations, especially of Western South-Slavic speakers. The genetic variation of Western Balkan populations reveals the continuity between the Middle East and Europe via the Balkan region and supports the scenario that one of the major routes of ancient gene flows and admixture went through the Balkan Peninsula.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105090
PMCID: PMC4141785  PMID: 25148043
9.  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
10.  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
11.  Glycans Are a Novel Biomarker of Chronological and Biological Ages 
Fine structural details of glycans attached to the conserved N-glycosylation site significantly not only affect function of individual immunoglobulin G (IgG) molecules but also mediate inflammation at the systemic level. By analyzing IgG glycosylation in 5,117 individuals from four European populations, we have revealed very complex patterns of changes in IgG glycosylation with age. Several IgG glycans (including FA2B, FA2G2, and FA2BG2) changed considerably with age and the combination of these three glycans can explain up to 58% of variance in chronological age, significantly more than other markers of biological age like telomere lengths. The remaining variance in these glycans strongly correlated with physiological parameters associated with biological age. Thus, IgG glycosylation appears to be closely linked with both chronological and biological ages. Considering the important role of IgG glycans in inflammation, and because the observed changes with age promote inflammation, changes in IgG glycosylation also seem to represent a factor contributing to aging.
Significance Statement
Glycosylation is the key posttranslational mechanism that regulates function of immunoglobulins, with multiple systemic repercussions to the immune system. Our study of IgG glycosylation in 5,117 individuals from four European populations has revealed very extensive and complex changes in IgG glycosylation with age. The combined index composed of only three glycans explained up to 58% of variance in age, considerably more than other biomarkers of age like telomere lengths. The remaining variance in these glycans strongly correlated with physiological parameters associated with biological age; thus, IgG glycosylation appears to be closely linked with both chronological and biological ages. The ability to measure human biological aging using molecular profiling has practical applications for diverse fields such as disease prevention and treatment, or forensics.
doi:10.1093/gerona/glt190
PMCID: PMC4049143  PMID: 24325898
Aging; Glycome; Glycosylation; Immunoglobulin G; Inflammation.
13.  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
14.  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
15.  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
17.  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
18.  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
19.  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
20.  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
21.  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
24.  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
25.  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

Results 1-25 (29)