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1.  Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) decreases butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) activity and changes its relationship with lipids 
Many conditions interfere with butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) activity, e.g., pregnancy or presence of the BCHE gene variant −116A can decrease activity whereas obesity and types I and II diabetes mellitus can increase activity. In this study, we examined BChE activity, −116A and 1615A BCHE gene variants, and anthropometric and biochemical variables associated with diabetes in patients with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and in healthy pregnant women. BChE activity was measured spectrophotometrically using propionylthiocholine as substrate and genotyping of the −116 and 1615 sites of the BCHE gene was done with a TaqMan SNP genotyping assay. Three groups were studied: 150 patients with GDM, 295 healthy pregnant women and 156 non-pregnant healthy women. Mean BChE activity was significantly lower in healthy pregnant women than in women from the general population and was further reduced in GDM patients. BChE activity was significantly reduced in carriers of −116A in GDM patients and healthy pregnant women. Although GDM patients had a significantly higher mean body mass index (BMI) and triglycerides than healthy pregnant women, they had lower mean BChE activity, suggesting that the lowering effect of GDM on BChE activity was stronger than the characteristic enhancing effect of increased BMI and triglycerides.
PMCID: PMC3958315
butyrylcholinesterase (BChE); gestational diabetes mellitus; −116A variant; 1615A variant
2.  Comparison of the in vivo and in vitro genotoxicity of glyphosate isopropylamine salt in three different organisms 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):105-110.
There is considerable controversy with regard to the genotoxicity of glyphosate, with some reports stating that this compound is non-toxic for fish, birds and mammals. In this work, we used the comet assay to examine the genotoxicity of glyphosate isopropylamine (0.7, 7, 70 and 700 μM) in human lymphocytes, erythrocytes of Oreochromis niloticus and staminal nuclei of Tradescantia (4430) in vitro and in vivo. Cells, nuclei and fish that had and had not been exposed to 5 mM N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) were used as positive and negative controls, respectively. Significant (p < 0.01) genetic damage was observed in vivo and in vitro in all cell types and organisms tested. Human lymphocytes and Tradescantia hairs showed lower genetic damage in vivo compared to in vitro, possibly because of efficient metabolization of the herbicide. In O. niloticus erythrocytes, significant (p < 0.001) genotoxicity was observed at ≥ 7 μM, whereas in vitro, glyphosphate was genotoxic in human lymphocytes and Tradescantia hairs at ≥ 0.7 μM. These results indicate that glyphosate is genotoxic in the cells and organisms studied at concentrations of 0.7–7 μM.
PMCID: PMC3958316
comet assay; DNA damage; genotoxicity; glyphosate
3.  Effects of β-glucan polysaccharide revealed by the dominant lethal assay and micronucleus assays, and reproductive performance of male mice exposed to cyclophosphamide 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):111-119.
β-glucan is a well-known polysaccharide for its chemopreventive effect. This study aimed to evaluate the chemopreventive ability of β-glucan in somatic and germ cells through the dominant lethal and micronucleus assays, and its influence on the reproductive performance of male mice exposed to cyclophosphamide. The results indicate that β-glucan is capable of preventing changes in DNA in both germ cells and somatic ones. Changes in germ cells were evaluated by the dominant lethal assay and showed damage reduction percentages of 46.46% and 43.79% for the doses of 100 and 150 mg/kg. For the somatic changes, evaluated by micronucleus assay in peripheral blood cells in the first week of treatment, damage reduction percentages from 80.63–116.32% were found. In the fifth and sixth weeks, the percentage ranged from 10.20–52.54% and −0.95–62.35%, respectively. Besides the chemopreventive efficiency it appears that the β-glucan, when combined with cyclophosphamide, is able to improve the reproductive performance of males verified by the significant reduction in rates of post-implantation losses and reabsorption in the mating of nulliparous females with males treated with cyclophosphamide.
PMCID: PMC3958317
mutation; post-implantation losses; chemoprevention; micronucleus; nulliparous females
4.  Use of the heteroduplex mobility assay and cell sorting to select genome sequences of the CCR5 gene in HEK 293T cells edited by transcription activator-like effector nucleases 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):120-126.
Engineered nucleases such as zinc finger nucleases (ZFN) and transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALEN) are one of the most promising tools for modifying genomes. These site-specific enzymes cause double-strand breaks that allow gene disruption or gene insertion, thereby facilitating genetic manipulation. The major problem associated with this approach is the labor-intensive procedures required to screen and confirm the cellular modification by nucleases. In this work, we produced a TALEN that targets the human CCR5 gene and developed a heteroduplex mobility assay for HEK 293T cells to select positive colonies for sequencing. This approach provides a useful tool for the quick detection and easy assessment of nuclease activity.
PMCID: PMC3958318
CCR5; genome editing; gene knockout; TALEN; HMA
5.  bFGF promotes adipocyte differentiation in human mesenchymal stem cells derived from embryonic stem cells 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):127-134.
In this work we describe the establishment of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and the role of bFGF in adipocyte differentiation. The totipotency of ESCs and MSCs was assessed by immunofluorescence staining and RT-PCR of totipotency factors. MSCs were successfully used to induce osteoblasts, chondrocytes and adipocytes. MSCs that differentiated into adipocytes were stimulated with and without bFGF. The OD/DNA (optical density/content of total DNA) and expression levels of the specific adipocyte genes PPARγ2 (peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ2) and C/EBPs were higher in bFGF cells. Embryonic bodies had a higher adipocyte level compared with cells cultured in plates. These findings indicate that bFGF promotes adipocyte differentiation. MSCs may be useful cells for seeding in tissue engineering and have enormous therapeutic potential for adipose tissue engineering.
PMCID: PMC3958319
embryonic stem cells; mesenchymal stem cells; fibroblast growth factor; adipocyte differentiation
6.  The golden age of Drosophila research at the Universidade de São Paulo (USP): A testimonial on the decades 1940–1950 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):135-145.
This article is a testimonial written by the first author regarding the research work performed with Drosophila between 1943 and 1959, at the Departamento de Biologia Geral of the Universidade de São Paulo (USP), which permitted the building of a nucleus of excellence. This research work, focused on the systematics and population genetics of the Neotropical species, began during the first of Dobzhansky’s six visits to USP. Special attention was given to the multinational megaprojects conducted during his longer stays, from August 1948 to July 1949 and from June 1955 to July 1956. The role played by the Rockefeller Foundation is duly remembered, and so is the undeniable contribution brought by Dobzhansky, to the establishment of several laboratories dedicated to research in the field of natural population genetics and to the qualification of human resources. On the other hand, important “backstage” episodes are retrieved which were omitted in the official history and occurred from the planning to the execution of the project, carried out on the Angra dos Reis islands. Special attention was given to the relationship problems which resulted from Dobzhansky’s, the leader’s, difficult personality and contributed to the failure of the second and last multinational project.
PMCID: PMC3958320
Departamento de Biologia Geral; FFCL; Rockefeller Foundation; population genetics; Theodosius Dobzhansky
7.  Obesity-related gene ADRB2, ADRB3 and GHRL polymorphisms and the response to a weight loss diet intervention in adult women 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):15-22.
The individual response to diet may be influenced by gene polymorphisms. This study hypothesized that ADRB2 (Gln27Glu, rs1042714 and Arg16Gly, rs1042713), ADRB3 (Trp64Arg, rs4994) and GHRL (Leu72Met, rs696217) polymorphisms moderate weight loss. The study was a seven weeks dietary weight loss intervention with Brazilian adult obese women (n = 109). The body mass index (BMI) was calculated and polymorphisms in these genes were assessed by real-time PCR assays. Two-way repeated-measures ANOVA (2 × 2) were used to analyze the intervention effect between polymorphisms and BMI over the period and after stratification for age and socioeconomic status (SES). The weight loss intervention resulted in decreased BMI over the seven-week period (p < 0.001), for high and low SES (p < 0.05) and mainly for participants with 30–49 y. The intervention did not result in a statistically significant difference in weight loss between polymorphism carriers and non-carriers, and although, the ADRB2, ADRB3 and GHRL polymorphisms did not moderate weight loss, the Gln27Glu polymorphism carriers showed a lower BMI compared to non-carriers in the low SES (p = 0.018) and the 30–39 y (p = 0.036) groups, suggesting a role for this polymorphism related to BMI control.
PMCID: PMC3958321
obesity; weight loss; adrenergic receptor polymorphism; ghrelin polymorphism; nutrigenetics
8.  Enzyme replacement therapy for Mucopolysaccharidosis Type I among patients followed within the MPS Brazil Network 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):23-29.
Mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I) is a rare lysosomal disorder caused by deficiency of alpha-L-iduronidase. Few clinical trials have assessed the effect of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) for this condition. We conducted an exploratory, open-label, non-randomized, multicenter cohort study of patients with MPS I. Data were collected from questionnaires completed by attending physicians at the time of diagnosis (T1; n = 34) and at a median time of 2.5 years later (T2; n = 24/34). The 24 patients for whom data were available at T2 were allocated into groups: A, no ERT (9 patients; median age at T1 = 36 months; 6 with severe phenotype); B, on ERT (15 patients; median age at T1 = 33 months; 4 with severe phenotype). For all variables in which there was no between-group difference at baseline, a delta of ≥ ± 20% was considered clinically relevant. The following clinically relevant differences were identified in group B in T2: lower rates of mortality and reported hospitalization for respiratory infection; lower frequency of hepatosplenomegaly; increased reported rates of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and hearing loss; and stabilization of gibbus deformity. These changes could be due to the effect of ERT or of other therapies which have also been found more frequently in group B. Our findings suggest MPS I patients on ERT also receive a better overall care. ERT may have a positive effect on respiratory morbidity and overall mortality in patients with MPS I. Additional studies focusing on these outcomes and on other therapies should be performed.
PMCID: PMC3958322
enzyme replacement therapy; Laronidase; Mucopolysaccharidosis Type I; alpha-L-iduronidase
9.  Scattered organization of the histone multigene family and transposable elements in Synbranchus 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):30-36.
The fish species Synbranchus marmoratus is widely distributed throughout the Neotropical region and exhibits a significant karyotype differentiation. However, data concerning the organization and location of the repetitive DNA sequences in the genomes of these karyomorphs are still lacking. In this study we made a physical mapping of the H3 and H4 histone multigene family and the transposable elements Rex1 and Rex3 in the genome of three known S. marmoratus karyomorphs. The results indicated that both histone sequences seem to be linked with one another and are scattered all over the chromosomes of the complement, with a little compartmentalization in one acrocentric pair, which is different from observations in other fish groups. Likewise, the transposable elements Rex1 and Rex3 were also dispersed throughout the genome as small clusters. The data also showed that the histone sites are organized in a differentiated manner in the genomes of S. marmoratus, while the transposable elements Rex1 and Rex3 do not seem to be compartmentalized in this group.
PMCID: PMC3958323
Synbranchidae; FISH; histone; retrotransposon
10.  Genetic diversity and population structure of bocachico Prochilodus magdalenae (Pisces, Prochilodontidae) in the Magdalena River basin and its tributaries, Colombia 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):37-45.
Prochilodus magdalenae is an endemic freshwater fish that occurs in the Magdalena, Sinú and Atrato hydrographic basins. It has an important economic role and is a food resource for the artisanal fishing communities. Its socioeconomic importance contrasts with the current status of its fisheries, where stocks are being depleted. Considering its importance and lack of information on its genetic structure, we used seven microsatellite markers to assess the genetic structure of wild populations of P. magdalenae. The genetic diversity was assessed and the population genetic structure was estimated through Fst, analysis of molecular variance and Bayesian analysis. A total of 290 alleles were found in all loci throughout all population. The high polymorphism contrasts with the levels of observed heterozygosity (Ho = 0.276), which are the lowest values recorded for the family. We found three populations of bocachico coexisting throughout the studied system, contradicting the hypothesis that freshwater migratory fish form panmictic populations. These results on the genetic structure of P. magdalenae constitute tools for a better understanding of the behavior and biology of this species, contributing to fish management and conservation programs.
PMCID: PMC3958324
neotropical fish; microsatellite; conservation genetics; population genetics
11.  Chromosome mapping of repetitive sequences in four Serrasalmidae species (Characiformes) 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):46-53.
The Serrasalmidae family is composed of a number of commercially interesting species, mainly in the Amazon region where most of these fishes occur. In the present study, we investigated the genomic organization of the 18S and 5S rDNA and telomeric sequences in mitotic chromosomes of four species from the basal clade of the Serrasalmidae family: Colossoma macropomum, Mylossoma aureum, M. duriventre, and Piaractus mesopotamicus, in order to understand the chromosomal evolution in the family. All the species studied had diploid numbers 2n = 54 and exclusively biarmed chromosomes, but variations of the karyotypic formulas were observed. C-banding resulted in similar patterns among the analyzed species, with heterochromatic blocks mainly present in centromeric regions. The 18S rDNA mapping of C. macropomum and P. mesopotamicus revealed multiple sites of this gene; 5S rDNA sites were detected in two chromosome pairs in all species, although not all of them were homeologs. Hybridization with a telomeric probe revealed signals in the terminal portions of chromosomes in all the species and an interstitial signal was observed in one pair of C. macropomum.
PMCID: PMC3958325
5S rDNA; telomeric sequences; tambaqui and pacu
12.  Validation of a microsatellite panel for parentage testing of locally adapted and commercial goats in Brazil 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):54-60.
Brazilian goats are generally kept in small herds and extensive rearing systems, mainly in the northeastern region of the country. Despite production improvement in recent years, the lack of pedigree control has affected genetic progress. This study aimed to validate a panel of 16 microsatellites for parentage testing in locally adapted and commercial goats breeds raised in Brazil, as well as to compare its efficiency with the panel recommended by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supplies (MAPA) in 2004. The number of alleles and expected heterozygosity (He) per marker ranged from four to 18, and from 0.051 to 0.831, respectively. Using all markers, 100% of parentage cases of the validation dataset were resolved with a strict confidence level of 95%. The 16 microsatellites panel showed adequate exclusion power (99.99%) and identity accuracy (99.99%). Suggestions for improvement of the marker panel endorsed by MAPA are provided.
PMCID: PMC3958326
parentage errors; animal breeding; animal genetic resources; Capra hircus
13.  The lowest diploid number in Testudines: Banding patterns, telomeric and 45S rDNA FISH in Peltocephalus dumerilianus, 2n = 26 and FN = 52 (Pleurodira, Podocnemididae) 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):61-63.
The karyotype of the big-headed Amazon River turtle, Peltocephalus dumerilianus, is characterized based on a sample of seven juveniles from Reserva Biológica do Rio Trombetas, Pará State, Brazil (1°30′ S, 56°34′ W). Here we present the first results on GTG and CBG-banding patterns, Ag-NOR staining and FISH, with telomeric and 45S rDNA sequences as probes. A cytogenetic comparison with related Podocnemidae is also provided.
PMCID: PMC3958327
big-headed Amazon River turtle; molecular cytogenetics; Pelomedusoides
14.  Analysis of genetic population structure in Acacia caven (Leguminosae, Mimosoideae), comparing one exploratory and two Bayesian-model-based methods 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):64-72.
Bayesian clustering as implemented in STRUCTURE or GENELAND software is widely used to form genetic groups of populations or individuals. On the other hand, in order to satisfy the need for less computer-intensive approaches, multivariate analyses are specifically devoted to extracting information from large datasets. In this paper, we report the use of a dataset of AFLP markers belonging to 15 sampling sites of Acacia caven for studying the genetic structure and comparing the consistency of three methods: STRUCTURE, GENELAND and DAPC. Of these methods, DAPC was the fastest one and showed accuracy in inferring the K number of populations (K = 12 using the find.clusters option and K = 15 with a priori information of populations). GENELAND in turn, provides information on the area of membership probabilities for individuals or populations in the space, when coordinates are specified (K = 12). STRUCTURE also inferred the number of K populations and the membership probabilities of individuals based on ancestry, presenting the result K = 11 without prior information of populations and K = 15 using the LOCPRIOR option. Finally, in this work all three methods showed high consistency in estimating the population structure, inferring similar numbers of populations and the membership probabilities of individuals to each group, with a high correlation between each other.
PMCID: PMC3958328
Acacia caven; AFLP; GENELAND; DAPC
15.  Genetic diversity and prevalence of CCR2-CCR5 gene polymorphisms in the Omani population 
Polymorphisms in the regulatory region of the CCR5 gene affect protein expression and modulate the progress of HIV-1 disease. Because of this prominent role, variations in this gene have been under differential pressure and their frequencies vary among human populations. The CCR2V64I mutation is tightly linked to certain polymorphisms in the CCR5 gene. The current Omani population is genetically diverse, a reflection of their history as traders who ruled extensive regions around the Indian Ocean. In this study, we examined the CCR2-CCR5 haplotypes in Omanis and compared the patterns of genetic diversity with those of other populations. Blood samples were collected from 115 Omani adults and genomic DNA was screened to identify the polymorphic sites in the CCR5 gene and the CCR2V64I mutation. Four minor alleles were common: CCR5-2554T and CCR5-2086G showed frequencies of 49% and 46%, respectively, whereas CCR5-2459A and CCR5-2135C both had a frequency of 36%. These alleles showed moderate levels of heterozygosity, indicating that they were under balancing selection. However, the well-known allele CCR5Δ32 was relatively rare. Eleven haplotypes were identified, four of which were common: HHC (46%), HHE (20%), HHA (14%) and HHF*2 (12%).
PMCID: PMC3958329
CCR2; CCR5; divergence; haplotype; HIV-1; Oman
16.  TaWRKY68 responses to biotic stresses are revealed by the orthologous genes from major cereals 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):73-80.
WRKY transcription factors have been extensively characterized in the past 20 years, but in wheat, studies on WRKY genes and their function are lagging behind many other species. To explore the function of wheat WRKY genes, we identified a TaWRKY68 gene from a common wheat cultivar. It encodes a protein comprising 313 amino acids which harbors 19 conserved motifs or active sites. Gene expression patterns were determined by analyzing microarray data of TaWRKY68 in wheat and of orthologous genes from maize, rice and barley using Genevestigator. TaWRKY68 orthologs were identified and clustered using DELTA-BLAST and COBALT programs available at NCBI. The results showed that these genes, which are expressed in all tissues tested, had relatively higher levels in the roots and were up-regulated in response to biotic stresses. Bioinformatics results were confirmed by RT-PCR experiments using wheat plants infected by Agrobacterium tumefaciens and Blumeria graminis, or treated with Deoxynivalenol, a Fusarium graminearum-induced mycotoxin in wheat or barley. In summary, TaWRKY68 functions differ during plant developmental stages and might be representing a hub gene function in wheat responses to various biotic stresses. It was also found that including data from major cereal genes in the bioinformatics analysis gave more accurate and comprehensive predictions of wheat gene functions.
PMCID: PMC3958330
wheat; TaWRKY68; Orthologous genes; genevestigator; gene functions
17.  Expression of stress-related genes in zebrawood (Astronium fraxinifolium, Anacardiaceae) seedlings following germination in microgravity 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):81-92.
Seeds of a tropical tree species from Brazil, Astronium fraxinifolium, or zebrawood, were germinated, for the first time in microgravity, aboard the International Space Station for nine days. Following three days of subsequent growth under normal terrestrial gravitational conditions, greater root length and numbers of secondary roots was observed in the microgravity-treated seedlings compared to terrestrially germinated controls. Suppression subtractive hybridization of cDNA and EST analysis were used to detect differential gene expression in the microgravity-treated seedlings in comparison to those initially grown in normal gravity (forward subtraction). Despite their return to, and growth in normal gravity, the subtracted library derived from microgravity-treated seedlings was enriched in known microgravity stress-related ESTs, corresponding to large and small heat shock proteins, 14-3-3-like protein, polyubiquitin, and proteins involved in glutathione metabolism. In contrast, the reverse-subtracted library contained a comparatively greater variety of general metabolism-related ESTs, but was also enriched for peroxidase, possibly indicating the suppression of this protein in the microgravity-treated seedlings. Following continued growth for 30 days, higher concentrations of total chlorophyll were detected in the microgravity-exposed seedlings.
PMCID: PMC3958331
microgravity; stress response; germination; suppression subtractive hybridization; zebrawood
18.  Effects of artichoke (Cynara scolymus) leaf and bloom head extracts on chemically induced DNA lesions in Drosophila melanogaster 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;37(1):90-104.
The genotoxicity of bloom head (BHE) and leaf (LE) extracts from artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.), and their ability to modulate the mutagenicity and recombinogenicity of two alkylating agents (ethyl methanesulfonate – EMS and mitomycin C – MMC) and the intercalating agent bleomycin (BLM), were examined using the somatic mutation and recombination test (SMART) in Drosophila melanogaster. Neither the mutagenicity nor the recombinogenicity of BLM or MMC was modified by co- or post-treatment with BHE or LE. In contrast, co-treatment with BHE significantly enhanced the EMS-induced genotoxicity involving mutagenic and/or recombinant events. Co-treatment with LE did not alter the genotoxicity of EMS whereas post-treatment with the highest dose of LE significantly increased this genotoxicity. This enhancement included a synergistic increase restricted to somatic recombination. These results show that artichoke extracts promote homologous recombination in proliferative cells of D. melanogaster.
PMCID: PMC3958332
artichoke; Drosophila melanogaster; recombinogenicity; SMART
19.  microRNAs and the mammary gland: A new understanding of gene expression 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;36(4):465-474.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been identified in cells as well as in exosomes in biological fluids such as milk. In mammary gland, most of the miRNAs studied have functions related to immunity and show alterations in their pattern of expression during lactation. In mastitis, the inflammatory response caused by Streptococcus uberis alters the expression of miRNAs that may regulate the innate immune system. These small RNAs are stable at room temperature and are resistant to repeated freeze/thaw cycles, acidic conditions and degradation by RNAse, making them resistant to industrial procedures. These properties mean that miRNAs could have multiple applications in veterinary medicine and biotechnology. Indeed, lactoglobulin-free milk has been produced in transgenic cows expressing specific miRNAs. Although plant and animal miRNAs have undergone independent evolutionary adaptation recent studies have demonstrated a cross-kingdom passage in which rice miRNA was isolated from human serum. This finding raises questions about the possible effect that miRNAs present in foods consumed by humans could have on human gene regulation. Further studies are needed before applying miRNA biotechnology to the milk industry. New discoveries and a greater knowledge of gene expression will lead to a better understanding of the role of miRNAs in physiology, nutrition and evolution.
doi:10.1590/S1415-47572013005000040
PMCID: PMC3873174  PMID: 24385846
lactation; mastitis; milk; miRNA
20.  Mantel test in population genetics 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;36(4):475-485.
The comparison of genetic divergence or genetic distances, estimated by pairwise FST and related statistics, with geographical distances by Mantel test is one of the most popular approaches to evaluate spatial processes driving population structure. There have been, however, recent criticisms and discussions on the statistical performance of the Mantel test. Simultaneously, alternative frameworks for data analyses are being proposed. Here, we review the Mantel test and its variations, including Mantel correlograms and partial correlations and regressions. For illustrative purposes, we studied spatial genetic divergence among 25 populations of Dipteryx alata (“Baru”), a tree species endemic to the Cerrado, the Brazilian savannas, based on 8 microsatellite loci. We also applied alternative methods to analyze spatial patterns in this dataset, especially a multivariate generalization of Spatial Eigenfunction Analysis based on redundancy analysis. The different approaches resulted in similar estimates of the magnitude of spatial structure in the genetic data. Furthermore, the results were expected based on previous knowledge of the ecological and evolutionary processes underlying genetic variation in this species. Our review shows that a careful application and interpretation of Mantel tests, especially Mantel correlograms, can overcome some potential statistical problems and provide a simple and useful tool for multivariate analysis of spatial patterns of genetic divergence.
doi:10.1590/S1415-47572013000400002
PMCID: PMC3873175  PMID: 24385847
“Baru” tree; genetic distances; geographical genetics; partial correlation; partial regression
21.  Association between the g.296596G > A genetic variant of RELN gene and susceptibility to autism in a Chinese Han population 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;36(4):486-489.
Autism is a childhood neuro-developmental disorder, and Reelin (RELN) is an important candidate gene for influencing autism. This study aimed at investigating the influence of genetic variants of the RELN gene on autism susceptibility. In this study, 205 autism patients and 210 healthy controls were recruited and the genetic variants of the RELN gene were genotyped by the created restriction site-polymerase chain reaction (CRS-PCR) method. The influence of genetic variants on autism susceptibility was analyzed by association analysis, and the g.296596G > A genetic variant in exon10 of the RELN gene was detected. The frequencies of allele/genotype in autistic patients were significantly different from those in healthy controls, and a statistically significant association was detected between this genetic variant and autism susceptibility. Our data lead to the inference that the g.296596G > A genetic variant in the RELN gene has a potential influence on autism susceptibility in the Chinese Han population.
doi:10.1590/S1415-47572013005000037
PMCID: PMC3873176  PMID: 24385848
autism; susceptibility; association analysis; RELN gene; genetic variants
22.  The MTHFR C677T polymorphism and global DNA methylation in oral epithelial cells 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;36(4):490-493.
DNA methylation is mediated by DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) that add a methyl group to the 5′-carbon of cytosine. The enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) catalyzes the reduction of 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate in the rate-limiting step of the cycle involving the methyl donor S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM). The MTHFR C677T polymorphism results in a thermolabile enzyme with reduced activity that is predicted to influence the DNA methylation status. In this study, we investigated the impact of the MTHFR C677T polymorphism on the global DNA methylation of oral epithelial cells obtained from 54 healthy subjects. There were no significant differences in global DNA methylation among the MTHFR CC, CT and TT genotypes (p = 0.75; Kruskal-Wallis test).
doi:10.1590/S1415-47572013005000035
PMCID: PMC3873177  PMID: 24385849
DNA methylation; epigenetic; MTHFR C677T; oral epithelial cells; polymorphism
23.  Frequency and origin of haplotypes associated with the beta-globin gene cluster in individuals with trait and sickle cell anemia in the Atlantic and Pacific coastal regions of Colombia 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;36(4):494-497.
Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disease with high prevalence in people of African descent. There are five typical haplotypes associated with this disease and the haplotypes associated with the beta-globin gene cluster have been used to establish the origin of African-descendant people in America. In this work, we determined the frequency and the origin of haplotypes associated with hemoglobin S in a sample of individuals with sickle cell anemia (HbSS) and sickle cell hemoglobin trait (HbAS) in coastal regions of Colombia. Blood samples from 71 HbAS and 79 HbSS individuals were obtained. Haplotypes were determined based on the presence of variable restriction sites within the β-globin gene cluster. On the Pacific coast of Colombia the most frequent haplotype was Benin, while on the Atlantic coast Bantu was marginally higher than Benin. Eight atypical haplotypes were observed on both coasts, being more diverse in the Atlantic than in the Pacific region. These results suggest a differential settlement of the coasts, dependent on where slaves were brought from, either from the Gulf of Guinea or from Angola, where the haplotype distributions are similar. Atypical haplotypes probably originated from point mutations that lost or gained a restriction site and/or by recombination events.
doi:10.1590/S1415-47572013000400005
PMCID: PMC3873178  PMID: 24385850
sickle cell anemia; HbS haplotypes; betaS globin-gene cluster haplotypes; HbS in Colombia; Afro-Colombians
24.  Germline DNA copy number variation in individuals with Argyrophilic grain disease reveals CTNS as a plausible candidate gene 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;36(4):498-501.
Argyrophilic grain disease (AGD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease of the human brain that has never been associated to a particular gene locus. In the present study, we report the results of a CNV investigation in 29 individuals whose anatomopathologic investigation of the brain showed AGD. Rare CNVs were identified in six patients (21%), in particular a 40 kb deletion at 17p13.2 encompassing the CTNS gene. Homozygote mutations in CTNS are known to cause cystinosis, a disorder characterized by the intralysosomal accumulation of cystine in all tissues. We present the first CNV results in individuals presenting AGD and a possible candidate gene implicated in the disorder.
doi:10.1590/S1415-47572013000400006
PMCID: PMC3873179  PMID: 24385851
Argyrophilic grain disease; copy number variations; CNVs; array-CGH; CTNS
25.  Determining mutations in G6PC and SLC37A4 genes in a sample of Brazilian patients with glycogen storage disease types Ia and Ib 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2013;36(4):502-506.
Glycogen storage disease (GSD) comprises a group of autosomal recessive disorders characterized by deficiency of the enzymes that regulate the synthesis or degradation of glycogen. Types Ia and Ib are the most prevalent; while the former is caused by deficiency of glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase), the latter is associated with impaired glucose-6-phosphate transporter, where the catalytic unit of G6Pase is located. Over 85 mutations have been reported since the cloning of G6PC and SLC37A4 genes. In this study, twelve unrelated patients with clinical symptoms suggestive of GSDIa and Ib were investigated by using genetic sequencing of G6PC and SLC37A4 genes, being three confirmed as having GSD Ia, and two with GSD Ib. In seven of these patients no mutations were detected in any of the genes. Five changes were detected in G6PC, including three known point mutations (p.G68R, p.R83C and p.Q347X) and two neutral mutations (c.432G > A and c.1176T > C). Four changes were found in SLC37A4: a known point mutation (p.G149E), a novel frameshift insertion (c.1338_1339insT), and two neutral mutations (c.1287G > A and c.1076-28C > T). The frequency of mutations in our population was similar to that observed in the literature, in which the mutation p.R83C is also the most frequent one. Analysis of both genes should be considered in the investigation of this condition. An alternative explanation to the negative results in this molecular study is the possibility of a misdiagnosis. Even with a careful evaluation based on laboratory and clinical findings, overlap with other types of GSD is possible, and further molecular studies should be indicated.
doi:10.1590/S1415-47572013000400007
PMCID: PMC3873180  PMID: 24385852
DNA-based diagnosis; glycogen storage disease; G6PC; SLC37A4; mutation

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