In previous studies we reported the identification of several AFLP, RAPD and RFLP molecular markers linked to apospory in Paspalum notatum. The objective of this work was to sequence these markers, obtain their flanking regions by chromosome walking and perform an in silico mapping analysis in rice and maize. The methylation status of two apospory-related sequences was also assessed using methylation-sensitive RFLP experiments. Fourteen molecular markers were analyzed and several protein-coding sequences were identified. Copy number estimates and RFLP linkage analysis showed that the sequence PnMAI3 displayed 2–4 copies per genome and linkage to apospory. Extension of this marker by chromosome walking revealed an additional protein-coding sequence mapping in silico in the apospory-syntenic regions of rice and maize. Approximately 5 kb corresponding to different markers were characterized through the global sequencing procedure. A more refined analysis based on sequence information indicated synteny with segments of chromosomes 2 and 12 of rice and chromosomes 3 and 5 of maize. Two loci associated with apomixis locus were tested in methylation-sensitive RFLP experiments using genomic DNA extracted from leaves. Although both target sequences were methylated no methylation polymorphisms associated with the mode of reproduction were detected.
apomixis; chromosome walking; gene mapping; molecular markers
The variation in mutations in exons 3, 6, 7, 11 and 12 of the phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) gene was investigated in 59 children with phenylketonuria (PKU) and 100 normal children. Three single nucleotide polymorphisms were detected by sequence analysis. The mutational frequencies of cDNA 696, cDNA 735 and cDNA 1155 in patients were 96.2%, 76.1% and 7.6%, respectively, whereas in healthy children the corresponding frequencies were 97.0%, 77.3% and 8.3%. In addition, 81 mutations accounted for 61.0% of the mutant alleles. R111X, H64 > TfsX9 and S70 del accounted for 5.1%, 0.8% and 0.8% mutation of alleles in exon 3, whereas EX6-96A > G accounted for 10.2% mutation of alleles in exon 6. R243Q had the highest incidence in exon 7 (12.7%), followed by Ivs7 + 2 T > A (5.1%) and T278I (2.5%). G247V, R252Q, L255S, R261Q and E280K accounted for 0.8% while Y356X and V399V accounted for 5.9% and 5.1%, respectively, in exon 11. R413P and A434D accounted for 5.9% and 2.5%, respectively, in exon 12. Seventy-two variant alleles accounted for the 16 mutations observed here. The mutation characteristics and distributions demonstrated that EX6-96A > G and R243Q were the hot regions for mutations in the PAH gene in Shanxi patients with PKU.
gene mutation; phenylalanine hydroxylase; phenylketonuria
The most frequent epigenetic alterations in Wilms tumor (WT) occur at WT2, assigned to 11p15. WT2 consists of two domains: telomeric domain 1 (DMRH19) that contains the IGF2 gene and an imprinted maternally expressed transcript (H19) and centromeric domain 2 (KvDMR) that contains the genes KCNQ1, KCNQ1OT1 and CDKN1C. In this work, we used pyrosequencing and MS-MLPA to compare the methylation patterns of DMRH19/KvDMR in blood and tumor samples from 40 WT patients. Normal constitutional KvDMR methylation indicated that most of the epigenetic alterations in WT occur at DMRH19. Constitutional DMRH19 hypermethylation (HM DMRH19) was observed in two patients with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome. Pyrosequencing and MS-MLPA showed HM DMRH19 in 28/34 tumor samples: 16/34 with isolated HM DMRH19 and 12/34 with concomitant HM DMRH19 and KvDMR hypomethylation, indicating paternal uniparental disomy. With the exception of one blood sample, the MS-MLPA and pyrosequencing findings were concordant. Diffuse or focal anaplasia was present in five tumor samples and was associated with isolated somatic HM DMRH19 in four of them. Constitutional 11p15 methylation abnormalities were present in 5% of the samples and somatic abnormalities in the majority of tumors. Combined analysis of DMRH19/KvDMR by pyrosequencing and MS-MLPA is beneficial for characterizing epigenetic anomalies in WT, and MS-MLPA is useful and reliable for estimation of DNA methylation in a clinical setting.
epigenetic; histopathology; methylation; MS-MLPA; pyrosequencing
The arylamine N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2) enzymes detoxify a wide range of naturally occurring xenobiotics including carcinogens and drugs. Point mutations in the NAT2 gene result in the variant alleles M1 (NAT2 *5A), M2 (NAT2*6A), M3 (NAT2*7) and M4 (NAT2 *14A) from the wild-type WT (NAT2 *4) allele. The current study was aimed at screening genetic polymorphisms of NAT2 gene in 49 lung cancer patients, 54 colorectal cancer patients and 99 cancer-free controls, using PCR-RFLP. There were significant differences in allele frequencies between lung cancer patients and controls in the WT, M2 and M3 alleles (p < 0.05). However, only M2 and M3 allele frequencies were different between colorectal cancer patients and controls (p < 0.05). There was a marginal significant difference in the distribution of rapid and slow acetylator genotypes between lung cancer patients and controls (p = 0.06 and p = 0.05, respectively), but not between colorectal cancer patients and controls (p = 1.0 and p = 0.95, respectively). Risk of lung cancer development was found to be lower in slow acetylators [odds ratio (OR): 0.51, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0.25, 1.02, p-value = 0.07]. No effect was observed in case of colorectal cancer. Our results showed that NAT2 genotypes and phenotypes might be involved in lung cancer but not colorectal cancer susceptibility in Jordan.
NAT2; lung cancer; colorectal cancer; polymorphisms
Monosomy 7 arises as a recurrent chromosome aberration in donor cell leukemia after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. We report a new case of donor cell leukemia with monosomy 7 following HLA-identical allogenic bone marrow transplantation for severe aplastic anemia (SAA). The male patient received a bone marrow graft from his sister, and monosomy 7 was detected only in the XX donor cells, 34 months after transplantation. The patient’s bone marrow microenvironment may have played a role in the leukemic transformation of the donor hematopoietic cells.
monosomy 7; donor cell leukemia; bone marrow transplantation; severe aplastic anemia
Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY) presents monogenic inheritance and mutation factors which have already been identified in six different genes. Given the wide molecular variation present in the hepatocyte nuclear factor-1α gene (HNF1α) MODY3, the aim of this study was to amplify and sequence the coding regions of this gene in seven patients from the Campos Gerais region, Paraná State, Brazil, presenting clinical MODY3 features. Besides the synonymous variations, A15A, L17L, Q141Q, G288G and T515T, two missense mutations, I27L and A98V, were also detected. Clinical and laboratory data obtained from patients were compared with the molecular findings, including the I27L polymorphism that was revealed in some overweight/obese diabetic patients of this study, this corroborating with the literature. We found certain DNA variations that could explain the hyperglycemic phenotype of the patients.
MODY3; molecular diagnosis; diabetes mellitus; nucleotide sequencing
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of a 12 week program of physical exercise (PE) on butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) in obese adolescents. This study compared obese adolescents (N = 54) before and after PE, regarding the relative intensity (RI) and activity of different molecular forms (G1, G2, G4 and G1-ALB) of BChE found in plasma. Waist circumference (WC) and lipid profile were also assessed before and after PE. It was shown that before PE, mean plasma BChE activity was significantly higher in obese than in non-obese adolescents and that it was significantly reduced after PE, becoming similar to that found in non-obese adolescents. Lipid profile and WC also changed in response to PE. These results are consistent with studies that found a correlation between BChE and lipid metabolism and suggest that PE may have led to a physiological regularization of plasma BChE activity. Although mean BChE activity of each isoform was significantly reduced by PE, their RI did not change. This is in accordance with a previous suggestion that this proportion is maintained under factors such as obesity, and may therefore be important for BChE functions.
BChE activity; physical exercise, obesity
The tropical tasar silkworm, Antheraea mylitta, is a semi-domesticated vanya silk-producing insect of high economic importance. To date, no molecular marker associated with cocoon and shell weights has been identified in this species. In this report, we identified a randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) marker and examined its inheritance, and also developed a stable diagnostic sequence-characterized amplified region (SCAR) marker. Silkworms were divided into groups with high (HCSW) and low (LCSW) cocoon and shell weights, and the F2 progeny of a cross between these two groups were obtained. DNA from these silkworms was screened by PCR using 34 random primers and the resulting RAPD fragments were used for cluster analysis and discriminant function analysis (DFA). The clustering pattern in a UPGMA-based dendogram and DFA clearly distinguished the HCSW and LCSW groups. Multiple regression analysis identified five markers associated with cocoon and shell weights. The marker OPW16905 bp showed the most significant association with cocoon and shell weights, and its inheritance was confirmed in F2 progeny. Cloning and sequencing of this 905 bp fragment showed 88% identity between its 134 nucleotides and the Bmc-1/Yamato-like retroposon of A. mylitta. This marker was further converted into a diagnostic SCAR marker (SCOPW 16826 bp). The SCAR marker developed here may be useful in identifying the right parental stock of tasar silk-worms for high cocoon and shell weights in breeding programs designed to enhance the productivity of tasar silk.
Antheraea mylitta; quantitative trait; RAPD; SCAR marker; tasar silkworm
Carcharhinus limbatus has a cosmopolitan distribution and marked genetic structuring, mainly because of its philopatric behavior. However, analysis of this structuring has not previously included South American populations. In the present study, we analyzed a sample of adult individuals collected on the northern coast of Brazil and compared the sequences of the mitochondrial control region with those of populations already genotyped. Relatively high haplotype diversity (12 haplotypes, genetic diversity of 0.796) was observed, similar to that in other populations but with a much larger number of private alleles. In contrast to populations studied previously, which were represented by neonates, the pronounced allelic variability found in the South American individuals may have resulted from migrations from other populations in the region that have yet to be genotyped. This population was also genetically distinct from the other Atlantic populations (Fst > 0.8), probably because of female philopatry, and apparently separated from the northwestern Atlantic group 1.39 million years ago. These findings indicate that the C. limbatus population from northern Brazil is genetically distinct from all other populations and should be considered as a different management unit for the protection of stocks.
Carcharhinus limbatus; control region; fishery stocks; mitochondrial DNA; population genetics
Freshwater fish present unique challenges when one attempts to understand the factors that determine the structure of their populations. Habitat fragmentation is a leading cause of population decline that threatens ecosystems worldwide. In this study, we investigated the conservation status of genetic variability in the Neotropical catfish (Pimelodus maculatus). Specifically, we examined the structure and genetic diversity of this species in a region of the Upper Uruguay River fragmented by natural barriers and dams. There was no genetic structure among the four sites analyzed, indicating the existence of only one population group. A combination of environmental management and genetic monitoring should be used to minimize the impact of impoundment on panmitic populations of migratory fish species.
conservation genetics; dams; habitat fragmentation; microsatellite
Parodontidae fish show few morphological characteristics for the identification of their representatives and chromosomal analyses have provided reliable features for determining the interrelationships in this family. In this study, the chromosomes of Apareiodon hasemani from the São Francisco River basin, Brazil, were analyzed and showed a karyotype with 2n = 54 meta/submetacentric chromosomes, and a ZZ/ZW sex chromosome system. The study revealed active NORs located on pair 11 and additional 18S rDNA sites on pairs 7 and 22. The 5S rDNA locus was found in pair 14. It showed a pericentric inversion regarding the ancestral condition. The satellite DNA pPh2004 was absent in the chromosomes of A. hasemani, a shared condition with most members of Apareiodon. The WAp probe was able to detect the amplification region of the W chromosome, corroborating the common origin of the system within Parodontidae. These chromosomal data corroborate an origin for the ZW system of Parodontidae and aid in the understanding of the differentiation of sex chromosome systems in Neotropical fishes.
cytogenetics; FISH; 18S rDNA; 5S rDNA; Neotropical fishes
The aim was to analyze variation in 12 Brazilian and Moroccan goat populations, and, through principal component analysis (PCA), check the importance of body measures and their indices as a means of distinguishing among individuals and populations. The biometric measurements were wither height (WH), brisket height (BH) and ear length (EL). Thorax depth (WH-BH) and the three indices, TD/WH, EL/TD and EL/WH, were also calculated. Of the seven components extracted, the first three principal components were sufficient to explain 99.5% of the total variance of the data. Graphical dispersion by genetic groups revealed that European dairy breeds clustered together. The Moroccan breeds were separated into two groups, one comprising the Drâa and the other the Zagora and Rhâali breeds. Whereas, on the one side, the Anglo-Nubian and undefined breeds were the closest to one another the goats of the Azul were observed to have the highest variation of all the breeds. The Anglo-Nubian and Boer breeds were similar to each other. The Nambi-type goats remained distinct from all the other populations. In general, the use of graphical representation of PCA values allowed to distinguish genetic groups.
biometrics; genetic resources; goat breeds; morphometrics; population characterization
Intramuscular fat (IMF) content plays an important role in meat quality. Many genes involved in lipid and energy metabolism were identified as candidate genes for IMF deposition, since genetic polymorphisms within these genes were associated with IMF content. However, there is less information on the expression levels of these genes in the muscle tissue. This study aimed at investigating the expression levels of sterol regulating element binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c), diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT-1), heart-fatty acids binding protein (H-FABP), leptin receptor (LEPR) and melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) genes and proteins in two divergent Banna mini-pig inbred lines (BMIL). A similar growth performance was found in both the fat and the lean BMIL. The fat meat and IMF content in the fat BMIL were significantly higher than in the lean BMIL, but the lean meat content was lower. The serum triacylglycerol (TAG) and free fatty acid (FFA) contents were significantly higher in the fat than in the lean BMIL. The expression levels of SREBP-1c, DGAT-1 and H-FABP genes and proteins in fat BMIL were increased compared to the lean BMIL. However, the expression levels of LEPR and MC4R genes and proteins were lower.
intramuscular fat (IMF); expression levels; Banna mini-pig inbred line (BMIL)
In order to understand the genetic ancestry and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) diversity of current Colombian horse breeds we sequenced a 364-bp fragment of the mitocondrial DNA D-loop in 116 animals belonging to five Spanish horse breeds and the Colombian Paso Fino and Colombian Creole cattle horse breeds. Among Colombian horse breeds, haplogroup D had the highest frequency (53%), followed by haplogroups A (19%), C (8%) and F (6%). The higher frequency of haplogroup D in Colombian horse breeds supports the theory of an ancestral Iberian origin for these breeds. These results also indicate that different selective pressures among the Colombian breeds could explain the relatively higher genetic diversity found in the Colombian Creole cattle horse when compared with the Colombian Paso Fino.
Colombian; Creole cattle horse; horse breeds; mitochondrial DNA; Paso Fino horse breed
The fish genus Astyanax is widespread throughout the Neotropical region and is one of the most species-rich genera of the Characiformes. Cytogenetic studies of Astyanax have revealed marked intra- and interspecific diversity, with the identification of various species complexes. In this report, we describe the karyotypic structure of two sympatric species of Astyanax (Astyanax sp. and Astyanax aff. fasciatus) from the Middle Contas River basin in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Both species had 2n = 48 but differed in their karyotypic formulae. Small heterochromatic blocks and multiple nucleolar organizer regions (NORs) were identified in both species. Terminal CMA3+/DAPI− signals were observed in Astyanax sp. and A. aff. fasciatus, mostly coincident with NORs. These results show that chromosomal markers can be used to identify species in this fish complex. These markers can provide useful information for evolutionary studies and investigations on the mechanisms of chromosomal diversity in Astyanax.
Ag-NOR; cytotaxonomy; fish; fluorochromes; South America
Knowledge of the nature and magnitude of gene effects, as well as their contribution to the control of metric traits, is important in formulating efficient breeding programs for the improvement of plant genetics. Information concerning a genetic parameter such as the additive-by-additive epistatic effect can be useful in traditional breeding. This report describes the results obtained by applying weighted multiple linear regression to estimate the parameter connected with an additive-by-additive epistatic interaction. Three weight variants were used: (1) standard weights based on estimated variances, (2) different weights for minimal, maximal and other lines, and (3) different weights for extreme and other lines. The approach described here combines two methods of estimation, one based on phenotypic observations and the other using molecular marker data. The comparison was done using Monte Carlo simulations. The results show that the application of weighted regression to the marker data yielded estimates similar to those obtained by phenotypic methods.
biometrical genetics; epistatic interaction; homozygous lines; QTL; simulation study; weighted regression
Previous work on gene expression analysis based on RNA sequencing identified a variety of differentially expressed cDNA fragments in the genic male sterile-fertile line 114AB of Capsicum annuum L. In this work, we examined the accumulation of one of the transcript-derived fragments (TDFs), CaMF3 (male fertile 3), in the flower buds of a fertile line. The full genomic DNA sequence of CaMF3 was 1,951 bp long and contained 6 exons and 5 introns, with the complete sequence encoding a putative 25.89 kDa protein of 234 amino acids. The predicted protein of CaMF3 shared sequence similarity with members of the isoamyl acetate-hydrolyzing esterase (IAH1) protein family. CaMF3 expression was detected only in flower buds at stages 7 and 8 and in open flowers of a male fertile line; no expression was observed in any organs of a male sterile line. Fine expression analysis revealed that CaMF3 was expressed specifically in anthers of the fertile line. These results suggest that CaMF3 is an anther-specific gene that may be essential for anther or pollen development in C. annuum.
anther-specific; CaMF3; Capsicum annuum L. genic male sterility; IAH1
Various factors affect spatial genetic structure in plant populations, including adult density and primary and secondary seed dispersal mechanisms. We evaluated pollen and seed dispersal distances and spatial genetic structure of Carapa guianensis Aublet. (Meliaceae) in occasionally inundated and terra firme forest environments that differed in tree densities and secondary seed dispersal agents. We used parentage analysis to obtain contemporary gene flow estimates and assessed the spatial genetic structure of adults and juveniles. Despite the higher density of adults (diameter at breast height ≥ 25 cm) and spatial aggregation in occasionally inundated forest, the average pollen dispersal distance was similar in both types of forest (195 ± 106 m in terra firme and 175 ± 87 m in occasionally inundated plots). Higher seed flow rates (36.7% of juveniles were from outside the plot) and distances (155 ± 84 m) were found in terra firme compared to the occasionally inundated plot (25.4% and 114 ± 69 m). There was a weak spatial genetic structure in juveniles and in terra firme adults. These results indicate that inundation may not have had a significant role in seed dispersal in the occasionally inundated plot, probably because of the higher levels of seedling mortality.
gene flow; parentage analysis; scatterhoarding; seed dispersal; spatial genetic structure
The Atlantic Forest is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and considered a hotspot of biodiversity conservation. Dalbergia nigra (Fabaceae) is a tree endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, and has become threatened due to overexploitation of its valuable timber. In the present study, we analyzed the genetic diversity and fine-scale spatial genetic structure of D. nigra in an area of primary forest of a large reserve. All adult individuals (N = 112) were sampled in a 9.3 ha plot, and genotyped for microsatellite loci. Our results indicated high diversity with a mean of 8.6 alleles per locus, and expected heterozygosity equal to 0.74. The co-ancestry coefficients were significant for distances among trees up to 80 m. The Sp value was equal to 0.017 and indirect estimates of gene dispersal distances ranged from 89 to 144 m. No strong evidence of bottleneck or effects of human-disturbance was found. This study highlights that long-term efforts to protect a large area of Atlantic Forest have been effective towards maintaining the genetic diversity of D. nigra. The results of this study are important towards providing a guide for seed collection for ex-situ conservation and reforestation programmes of this threatened species.
Dalbergia nigra; Atlantic Forest; conservation genetics; fine-scale spatial genetic structure; Sp statistic
Stylosanthes species are important forage legumes in tropical and subtropical areas. S. macrocephala and S. capitata germplasm collections that consist of 134 and 192 accessions, respectively, are maintained at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation Cerrados (Embrapa-Cerrados). Polymorphic microsatellite markers were used to assess genetic diversity and population structure with the aim to assemble a core collection. The mean values of HO and HE for S. macrocephala were 0.08 and 0.36, respectively, whereas the means for S. capitata were 0.48 and 0.50, respectively. Roger’s genetic distance varied from 0 to 0.83 for S. macrocephala and from 0 to 0.85 for S. capitata. Analysis with STRUCTURE software distinguished five groups among the S. macrocephala accessions and four groups among those of S. capitata. Nei’s genetic diversity was 27% in S. macrocephala and 11% in S. capitata. Core collections were assembled for both species. For S. macrocephala, all of the allelic diversity was represented by 23 accessions, whereas only 13 accessions were necessary to represent all allelic diversity for S. capitata. The data presented herein evidence the population structure present in the Embrapa-Cerrados germplasm collections of S. macrocephala and S. capitata, which may be useful for breeding programs and germplasm conservation.
Stylosanthes; tropical forage; microsatellites; genetic diversity; core collection
As Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is the most common tick-borne disease in South America, the presence of Rickettsia sp. in Amblyomma ticks is a possible indication of its endemicity in certain geographic regions. In the present work, bacterial DNA sequences related to Rickettsia amblyommii genes in A. dubitatum ticks, collected in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, were discovered. Simultaneously, Paracoccus sp. was detected in aproximately 77% of A. cajennense specimens collected in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is the first report of Paracoccus sp. infection in a specific tick population, and raises the possibility of these bacteria being maintained and/or transmitted by ticks. Whether Paracoccus sp. represents another group of pathogenic Rhodobacteraceae or simply plays a role in A. cajennense physiology, is unknown. The data also demonstrate that the rickettsial 16S rRNA specific primers used forRickettsia spp. screening can also detect Paracoccus alpha-proteobacteria infection in biological samples. Hence, a PCR-RFLP strategy is presented to distinguish between these two groups of bacteria.
Paracoccus; Rickettsia amblyommii; Amblyomma; ixodidae ticks
RNA interference (RNAi) is a natural endogenous process by which double-stranded RNA molecules trigger potent and specific gene silencing in eukaryotic cells and is characterized by target RNA cleavage. In mammals, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are the trigger molecules of choice and constitute a new class of RNA-based antiviral agents. In an efficient RNAi response, the antisense strand of siRNAs must enter the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) in a process mediated by thermodynamic features. In this report, we hypothesize that silent mutations capable of inverting thermodynamic properties can promote resistance to siRNAs. Extensive computational analyses were used to assess whether continuous selective pressure that promotes such mutations could lead to the emergence of viral strains completely resistant to RNAi (i.e., prone to transfer only the sense strands to RISC). Based on our findings, we propose that, although synonymous mutations may produce functional resistance, this strategy cannot be systematically adopted by viruses since the longest RNAi-refractory sequence is only 10 nt long. This finding also suggests that all mRNAs display fluctuating thermodynamic landscapes and that, in terms of thermodynamic features, RNAi is a very efficient antiviral system since there will always be sites susceptible to siRNAs.
RNAi; siRNA; synonymous mutation; viral evolution
Several phylogeographic studies of seabirds have documented low genetic diversity that has been attributed to bottleneck events or individual capacity for dispersal. Few studies have been done in seabirds on the Brazilian coast and all have shown low genetic differentiation on a wide geographic scale. The Kelp Gull is a common species with a wide distribution in the Southern Hemisphere. In this study, we used mitochondrial and nuclear markers to examine the genetic variability of Kelp Gull populations on the Brazilian coast and compared this variability with that of sub-Antarctic island populations of this species. Kelp Gulls showed extremely low genetic variability for mitochondrial markers (cytb and ATPase) and high diversity for a nuclear locus (intron 7 of the β-fibrinogen). The intraspecific evolutionary history of Kelp Gulls showed that the variability found in intron 7 of the β-fibrinogen gene was compatible with the variability expected under neutral evolution but suggested an increase in population size during the last 10,000 years. However, none of the markers revealed evidence of a bottleneck population. These findings indicate that the recent origin of Kelp Gulls is the main explanation for their nuclear diversity, although selective pressure on the mtDNA of this species cannot be discarded.
cytb; FIB7 intron; phylogeography; recent origin; selective sweep
Sturgeons are fish species with a complex biology. They are also characterized by complex aspects including polyploidization and easiness of hybridization. As with most of the Ponto-Caspian sturgeons, the populations of Acipenser ruthenus from the Danube have declined drastically during the last decades. This is the first report on mitochondrial point heteroplasmy in the cytochrome b gene of this species. The 1141 bp sequence of the cytb gene in wild sterlet sturgeon individuals from the Lower Danube was determined, and site heteroplasmy evidenced in three of the 30 specimens collected. Two nucleotide sequences were identified in these heteroplasmic individuals. The majority of the heteroplasmic sites are synonymous and do not modify the sequence of amino acids in cytochrome B protein. To date, several cases of point heteroplasmy have been reported in animals, mostly due to paternal leakage of mtDNA. The presence of specific point heteroplasmic sites might be interesting for a possible correlation with genetically distinct groups in the Danube River.
sterlet sturgeon; mtDNA; site heteroplasmy
Wolbachia are endosymbiotic bacteria that commonly infect arthropods, inducing certain phenotypes in their hosts. So far, no endemic South American species of terrestrial isopods have been investigated for Wolbachia infection. In this work, populations from two species of Balloniscus (B. sellowii and B. glaber) were studied through a diagnostic PCR assay. Fifteen new Wolbachia 16S rDNA sequences were detected. Wolbachia found in both species were generally specific to one population, and five populations hosted two different Wolbachia 16S rDNA sequences. Prevalence was higher in B. glaber than in B. sellowii, but uninfected populations could be found in both species. Wolbachia strains from B. sellowii had a higher genetic variation than those isolated from B. glaber. AMOVA analyses showed that most of the genetic variance was distributed among populations of each species rather than between species, and the phylogenetic analysis suggested that Wolbachia strains from Balloniscus cluster within Supergroup B, but do not form a single monophyletic clade, suggesting multiple infections for this group. Our results highlight the importance of studying Wolbachia prevalence and genetic diversity in Neotropical species and suggest that South American arthropods may harbor a great number of diverse strains, providing an interesting model to investigate the evolution of Wolbachia and its hosts.
Wolbachia; prevalence; diversity; South America; Oniscidea