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1.  Population Analysis of Pharmacogenetic Polymorphisms Related to Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Drug Treatment 
Disease markers  2012;32(4):247-253.
This study aimed to evaluate in the Brazilian population, the genotypes and population frequencies of pharmacogenetic polymorphisms involved in the response to drugs used in treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and to compare the data with data from the HapMap populations. There was significant differentiation between most population pairs, but few associations between genetic ancestry and SNPs in the Brazilian population were observed. AMOVA analysis comparing the Brazilian population to all other populations retrieved from HapMap pointed to a genetic proximity with the European population. These associations point to preclusion of the use of genetic ancestry as a proxy for predicting drug response. In this way, any study aiming to correlate genotype with drug response in the Brazilian population should be based on pharmacogenetic SNP genotypes.
PMCID: PMC3826589  PMID: 22430191
SNPs; Brazilian population; pharmacogenetic polymorphisms; HapMap
2.  Association between polymorphisms in the TRHR gene, fat-free mass, and muscle strength in older women 
Age  2013;35(6):2477-2483.
A previous genome-wide association study suggested that polymorphisms in the thyrotrophin-releasing hormone receptor (TRHR) gene contribute to fat-free mass (FFM) variation. The aim of the present study was to examine the association between polymorphisms in the TRHR gene with FFM and muscle strength in older women. Volunteers (n = 241; age = 66.65 ± 5.5 years) underwent quadriceps strength assessment using isokinetics and fat-free mass by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. TRHR polymorphisms and ancestry-informative markers were genotyped through standard procedures. No significant difference was observed for rs7832552. Regarding the rs16892496, ANCOVA revealed that appendicular fat-free mass (AFFM) and relative AFFM were significantly different between groups (p = 0.04 and p = 0.05, respectively). Individuals carrying A/A and A/C genotypes respectively showed, on average, an extra 1 kg and 900 g of AFFM when compared to C/C genotype carriers. Also, the C/C genotype group presented a significantly higher chance to have reduced muscle strength. The observations presented here provide further evidence that the rs16892496 polymorphism in the TRHR gene may play a role in FFM variation. Moreover, the results bring the novel insight that this genetic variant can present a modest contribution to muscle strength in older women.
PMCID: PMC3824979  PMID: 23543262
Aging; Sarcopenia; Genetic variation
3.  Exercise induction of gut microbiota modifications in obese, non-obese and hypertensive rats 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):511.
Obesity is a multifactor disease associated with cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension. Recently, gut microbiota was linked to obesity pathogenesisand shown to influence the host metabolism. Moreover, several factors such as host-genotype and life-style have been shown to modulate gut microbiota composition. Exercise is a well-known agent used for the treatment of numerous pathologies, such as obesity and hypertension; it has recently been demonstrated to shape gut microbiota consortia. Since exercise-altered microbiota could possibly improve the treatment of diseases related to dysfunctional microbiota, this study aimed to examine the effect of controlled exercise training on gut microbial composition in Obese rats (n = 3), non-obese Wistar rats (n = 3) and Spontaneously Hypertensive rats (n = 3). Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes from fecal samples collected before and after exercise training was used for this purpose.
Exercise altered the composition and diversity of gut bacteria at genus level in all rat lineages. Allobaculum (Hypertensive rats), Pseudomonas and Lactobacillus (Obese rats) were shown to be enriched after exercise, while Streptococcus (Wistar rats), Aggregatibacter and Sutturella (Hypertensive rats) were more enhanced before exercise. A significant correlation was seen in the Clostridiaceae and Bacteroidaceae families and Oscillospira and Ruminococcus genera with blood lactate accumulation. Moreover, Wistar and Hypertensive rats were shown to share a similar microbiota composition, as opposed to Obese rats. Finally, Streptococcus alactolyticus, Bifidobacterium animalis, Ruminococcus gnavus, Aggregatibacter pneumotropica and Bifidobacterium pseudolongum were enriched in Obese rats.
These data indicate that non-obese and hypertensive rats harbor a different gut microbiota from obese rats and that exercise training alters gut microbiota from an obese and hypertensive genotype background.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-511) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4082611  PMID: 24952588
Gut microbiota; Obesity; Hypertension; Exercise; Lactobacillus
4.  Modeling 3D Facial Shape from DNA 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(3):e1004224.
Human facial diversity is substantial, complex, and largely scientifically unexplained. We used spatially dense quasi-landmarks to measure face shape in population samples with mixed West African and European ancestry from three locations (United States, Brazil, and Cape Verde). Using bootstrapped response-based imputation modeling (BRIM), we uncover the relationships between facial variation and the effects of sex, genomic ancestry, and a subset of craniofacial candidate genes. The facial effects of these variables are summarized as response-based imputed predictor (RIP) variables, which are validated using self-reported sex, genomic ancestry, and observer-based facial ratings (femininity and proportional ancestry) and judgments (sex and population group). By jointly modeling sex, genomic ancestry, and genotype, the independent effects of particular alleles on facial features can be uncovered. Results on a set of 20 genes showing significant effects on facial features provide support for this approach as a novel means to identify genes affecting normal-range facial features and for approximating the appearance of a face from genetic markers.
Author Summary
The face is perhaps the most inherently fascinating and aesthetic feature of the human body. It is a principle subject of art throughout human history and across cultures and populations. It provides the most significant means by which we communicate our emotions and intentions in addition to health, sex, and age. And yet features such as the strength of the brow ridge, the spacing between the eyes, the width of the nose, and the shape of the philtrum are largely scientifically unexplained. Here, we use a novel method to measure face shape in population samples with mixed West African and European ancestry from three locations (United States, Brazil, and Cape Verde). We show that facial variation with regard to sex, ancestry, and genes can be systematically studied with our methods, allowing us to lay the foundation for predictive modeling of faces. Such predictive modeling could be forensically useful; for example, DNA left at crime scenes could be tested and faces predicted in order to help to narrow the pool of potential suspects. Further, our methods could be used to predict the facial features of descendants, deceased ancestors, and even extinct human species. In addition, these methods could prove to be useful diagnostic tools.
PMCID: PMC3961191  PMID: 24651127
5.  The complexity, function and applications of RNA in circulation 
Frontiers in Genetics  2013;4:115.
Blood carries a wide array of biomolecules, including nutrients, hormones, and molecules that are secreted by cells for specific biological functions. The recent finding of stable RNA of both endogenous and exogenous origin in circulation raises a number of questions and opens a broad, new field: exploring the origins, functions, and applications of these extracellular RNA molecules. These findings raise many important questions, including: what are the mechanisms of export and cellular uptake, what is the nature and source of their stability, what molecules do they interact with in the blood, and what are the possible biological functions of the circulating RNA? This review summarizes some key recent developments in circulating RNA research and discusses some of the open questions in the field.
PMCID: PMC3684799  PMID: 23785385
microRNA; exosomes; microvesicles; cell–cell communication; exogenous RNA
6.  A Review of Computational Tools in microRNA Discovery 
Since microRNAs (miRNAs) were discovered, their impact on regulating various biological activities has been a surprising and exciting field. Knowing the entire repertoire of these small molecules is the first step to gain a better understanding of their function. High throughput discovery tools such as next-generation sequencing significantly increased the number of known miRNAs in different organisms in recent years. However, the process of being able to accurately identify miRNAs is still a complex and difficult task, requiring the integration of experimental approaches with computational methods. A number of prediction algorithms based on characteristics of miRNA molecules have been developed to identify new miRNA species. Different approaches have certain strengths and weaknesses and in this review, we aim to summarize several commonly used tools in metazoan miRNA discovery.
PMCID: PMC3654206  PMID: 23720668
isomer; machine learning; miRNA conservation; RNA secondary structure; sequence homology
7.  High molecular mass proteomics analyses of left ventricle from rats subjected to differential swimming training 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:11.
Regular exercises are commonly described as an important factor in health improvement, being directly related to contractile force development in cardiac cells.
In order to evaluate the links between swimming exercise intensity and cardiac adaptation by using high molecular mass proteomics, isogenic Wistar rats were divided into four groups: one control (CG) and three training groups (TG’s), with low, moderate and high intensity of exercises.
In order to evaluate the links between swimming exercise intensity and cardiac adaptation by using high molecular mass proteomics, isogenic Wistar rats were divided into four groups: one control (CG) and three training groups (TG’s), with low, moderate and high intensity of exercises.
Findings here reported demonstrated clear morphologic alterations, significant cellular injury and increased energy supplies at high exercise intensities. α-MyHC, as well proteins associated with mitochondrial oxidative metabolism were shown to be improved. α-MyHC expression increase 1.2 fold in high intensity training group when compared with control group. α-MyHC was also evaluated by real-time PCR showing a clear expression correlation with protein synthesis data increase in 8.48 fold in high intensity training group. Other myofibrillar protein, troponin , appear only in high intensity group, corroborating the cellular injury data. High molecular masses proteins such as MRS2 and NADH dehydrogenase, involved in metabolic pathways also demonstrate increase expression, respectily 1.5 and 1.3 fold, in response to high intensity exercise.
High intensity exercise demonstrated an increase expression in some high molecular masses myofibrilar proteins, α-MyHC and troponin. Furthermore this intensity also lead a significant increase of other high molecular masses proteins such as MRS2 and NADH dehydrogenase in comparison to low and moderate intensities. However, high intensity exercise also represented a significant degree of cellular injury, when compared with the individuals submitted to low and moderate intensities.
PMCID: PMC3508799  PMID: 22950628
Heart tissue; High molecular mass proteomic; Muscle; Myofibrillar proteins; Swimming training
8.  Association of serum lipid components and obesity with genetic ancestry in an admixed population of elderly women 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2012;35(3):575-582.
The prevalence of metabolic disorders varies among ethnic populations and these disorders represent a critical health care issue for elderly women. This study investigated the correlation between genetic ancestry and body composition, metabolic traits and clinical status in a sample of elderly women. Clinical, nutritional and anthropometric data were collected from 176 volunteers. Genetic ancestry was estimated using 23 ancestry-informative markers. Pearsons correlation test was used to examine the relationship between continuous variables and an independent samples t-test was used to compare the means of continuous traits within categorical variables. Overall ancestry was a combination of European (57.49%), Native American (25.78%) and African (16.73%). Significant correlations were found for European ancestry with body mass index (r = 0.165; p = 0.037) and obesity (mean difference (MD) = 5.3%; p = 0.042). African ancestry showed a significant correlation with LDL (r = 0.159, p = 0.035), VLDL (r = −0.185; p = 0.014), hypertriglyceridemia (MD = 6.4%; p = 0.003) and hyperlipidemia (MD = 4.8%; p = 0.026). Amerindian ancestry showed a significant correlation with triglyceride levels (r = 0.150; p = 0.047) and hypertriglyceridemia (MD = 4.5%; p = 0.039). These findings suggest that genetic admixture may influence the etiology of lipid metabolism-related diseases and obesity in elderly women.
PMCID: PMC3459405  PMID: 23055794
dyslipidemia; genetic ancestry; lipid profile; obesity; postmenopausal women
9.  Genomic Ancestry, Self-Reported “Color” and Quantitative Measures of Skin Pigmentation in Brazilian Admixed Siblings 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27162.
A current concern in genetic epidemiology studies in admixed populations is that population stratification can lead to spurious results. The Brazilian census classifies individuals according to self-reported “color”, but several studies have demonstrated that stratifying according to “color” is not a useful strategy to control for population structure, due to the dissociation between self-reported “color” and genomic ancestry. We report the results of a study in a group of Brazilian siblings in which we measured skin pigmentation using a reflectometer, and estimated genomic ancestry using 21 Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs). Self-reported “color”, according to the Brazilian census, was also available for each participant. This made it possible to evaluate the relationship between self-reported “color” and skin pigmentation, self-reported “color” and genomic ancestry, and skin pigmentation and genomic ancestry. We observed that, although there were significant differences between the three “color” groups in genomic ancestry and skin pigmentation, there was considerable dispersion within each group and substantial overlap between groups. We also saw that there was no good agreement between the “color” categories reported by each member of the sibling pair: 30 out of 86 sibling pairs reported different “color”, and in some cases, the sibling reporting the darker “color” category had lighter skin pigmentation. Socioeconomic status was significantly associated with self-reported “color” and genomic ancestry in this sample. This and other studies show that subjective classifications based on self-reported “color”, such as the one that is used in the Brazilian census, are inadequate to describe the population structure present in recently admixed populations. Finally, we observed that one of the AIMs included in the panel (rs1426654), which is located in the known pigmentation gene SLC24A5, was strongly associated with skin pigmentation in this sample.
PMCID: PMC3206941  PMID: 22073278
10.  Microsatellite instability in endometrial polyps 
To investigate the prevalence of microsatellite instability (MSI) in endometrial polyps and to evaluate whether there are clinical and histopathological parameters associated with this kind of instability.
Study design
Between September 2008 and April 2009, endometrial polyps were collected from 109 patients. MSI was evaluated using the NCI recommended markers BAT25, BAT26, D2S123, D5S346 and D17S250. Histopathological analysis was performed, and clinical information was obtained from patients' records.
MSI low was detected in 6.4% of the validated samples (7/109). Of the seven MSI that were detected, six were positive for instability at D17S250 and one at D5S346. There were no significant differences between polyps with or without MSI with regard to age, BMI, menarche, parity, miscarriage or menopause; however, MSI was more frequent in polyps with simple hyperplasia without atypia (3/20; 15%). Furthermore, patients with multiple polyps had a marginally but statistically insignificant increase in the frequency of MSI (p < 0.07).
This is the first prospective study of MSI in endometrial polyps using hysteroscopically obtained samples. In a population of 109 patients, MSI was infrequent in endometrial polyps. Although MSI appears to be more frequent in multiple polyps and polyps with simple hyperplasia without atypia, this was not statistically significant.
PMCID: PMC3184144  PMID: 20705379
Microsatellite instability; Endometrial polyp; Associated factors
11.  Genetic Heterogeneity of Self-Reported Ancestry Groups in an Admixed Brazilian Population 
Journal of Epidemiology  2011;21(4):240-245.
Population stratification is the main source of spurious results and poor reproducibility in genetic association findings. Population heterogeneity can be controlled for by grouping individuals in ethnic clusters; however, in admixed populations, there is evidence that such proxies do not provide efficient stratification control. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relation of self-reported with genetic ancestry and the statistical risk of grouping an admixed sample based on self-reported ancestry.
A questionnaire that included an item on self-reported ancestry was completed by 189 female volunteers from an admixed Brazilian population. Individual genetic ancestry was then determined by genotyping ancestry informative markers.
Self-reported ancestry was classified as white, intermediate, and black. The mean difference among self-reported groups was significant for European and African, but not Amerindian, genetic ancestry. Pairwise fixation index analysis revealed a significant difference among groups. However, the increase in the chance of type 1 error was estimated to be 14%.
Self-reporting of ancestry was not an appropriate methodology to cluster groups in a Brazilian population, due to high variance at the individual level. Ancestry informative markers are more useful for quantitative measurement of biological ancestry.
PMCID: PMC3899415  PMID: 21498954
ethnicity; population structure; ancestry; admixture
12.  Population analysis of vitamin D receptor polymorphisms and the role of genetic ancestry in an admixed population 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2011;34(3):377-385.
The vitamin D receptor (VDR) is an essential protein related to bone metabolism. Some VDR alleles are differentially distributed among ethnic populations and display variable patterns of linkage disequilibrium (LD). In this study, 200 unrelated Brazilians were genotyped using 21 VDR single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 28 ancestry informative markers. The patterns of LD and haplotype distribution were compared among Brazilian and the HapMap populations of African (YRI), European (CEU) and Asian (JPT+CHB) origins. Conditional regression and haplotype-specific analysis were performed using estimates of individual genetic ancestry in Brazilians as a quantitative trait. Similar patterns of LD were observed in the 5′ and 3′ gene regions. However, the frequency distribution of haplotype blocks varied among populations. Conditional regression analysis identified haplotypes associated with European and Amerindian ancestry, but not with the proportion of African ancestry. Individual ancestry estimates were associated with VDR haplotypes. These findings reinforce the need to correct for population stratification when performing genetic association studies in admixed populations.
PMCID: PMC3168175  PMID: 21931507
Brazilian population; HapMap; haplotype; population diversity; VDR
13.  ACTN3 R577X Polymorphism and Neuromuscular Response to Resistance Training 
The R577X polymorphism at the ACTN3 gene has been associated with muscle strength, hypertrophy and athletic status. The X allele, which is associated with the absence of ACTN3 protein is supposed to impair performance of high force/velocity muscle contractions. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the association of the R577X polymorphism with the muscle response to resistance training in young men. One hundred forty one men performed two resistance training sessions per week for 11 weeks. Participants were tested for 1RM bench press, knee extensors peak torque, and knee extensors muscle thickness at baseline and after the training period. Genotyping was conducted using de DdeI restriction enzyme. Genotype distribution was 34.4% for RR, 47% for RX and 18.6% for the XX genotype. According to the results, the R577X polymorphism at the ACTN3 gene is not associated with baseline muscle strength or with the muscle strength response to resistance training. However, only carriers of the R allele showed increases in muscle thickness in response to training.
Key pointsACTN3 Genotype distribution in the present study was similar to others populations (34.4% for RR, 47% for RX, and 18.6% for the XX).The R577X polymorphism at the ACTN3 gene is not associated with baseline muscle strength or with the muscle strength response to resistance training.It appears that the R allele carriers respond better to muscle thickness gains in response to training.
PMCID: PMC3761844  PMID: 24149888
Muscle strength; muscle hypertrophy; peak torque; genotype; alpha-actinin 3; knee extensor
14.  Identification of candidate genome regions controlling disease resistance in Arachis 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:112.
Worldwide, diseases are important reducers of peanut (Arachis hypogaea) yield. Sources of resistance against many diseases are available in cultivated peanut genotypes, although often not in farmer preferred varieties. Wild species generally harbor greater levels of resistance and even apparent immunity, although the linkage of agronomically un-adapted wild alleles with wild disease resistance genes is inevitable. Marker-assisted selection has the potential to facilitate the combination of both cultivated and wild resistance loci with agronomically adapted alleles. However, in peanut there is an almost complete lack of knowledge of the regions of the Arachis genome that control disease resistance.
In this work we identified candidate genome regions that control disease resistance. For this we placed candidate disease resistance genes and QTLs against late leaf spot disease on the genetic map of the A-genome of Arachis, which is based on microsatellite markers and legume anchor markers. These marker types are transferable within the genus Arachis and to other legumes respectively, enabling this map to be aligned to other Arachis maps and to maps of other legume crops including those with sequenced genomes. In total, 34 sequence-confirmed candidate disease resistance genes and five QTLs were mapped.
Candidate genes and QTLs were distributed on all linkage groups except for the smallest, but the distribution was not even. Groupings of candidate genes and QTLs for late leaf spot resistance were apparent on the upper region of linkage group 4 and the lower region of linkage group 2, indicating that these regions are likely to control disease resistance.
PMCID: PMC2739205  PMID: 19698131
15.  TagSNP transferability and relative loss of variability prediction from HapMap to an admixed population 
The application of a subset of single nucleotide polymorphisms, the tagSNPs, can be useful in capturing untyped SNPs information in a genomic region. TagSNP transferability from the HapMap dataset to admixed populations is of uncertain value due population structure, admixture, drift and recombination effects. In this work an empirical dataset from a Brazilian admixed sample was evaluated against the HapMap population to measure tagSNP transferability and the relative loss of variability prediction.
The transferability study was carried out using SNPs dispersed over four genomic regions: the PTPN22, HMGCR, VDR and CETP genes. Variability coverage and the prediction accuracy for tagSNPs in the selected genomic regions of HapMap phase II were computed using a prediction accuracy algorithm. Transferability of tagSNPs and relative loss of prediction were evaluated according to the difference between the Brazilian sample and the pooled and single HapMap population estimates.
Each population presented different levels of prediction per gene. On average, the Brazilian (BRA) sample displayed a lower power of prediction when compared to HapMap and the pooled sample. There was a relative loss of prediction for BRA when using single HapMap populations, but a pooled HapMap dataset generated minor loss of variability prediction and lower standard deviations, except at the VDR locus at which loss was minor using CEU tagSNPs.
Studies that involve tagSNP selection for an admixed population should not be generally correlated with any specific HapMap population and can be better represented with a pooled dataset in most cases.
PMCID: PMC2737315  PMID: 19682379
16.  A linkage map for the B-genome of Arachis (Fabaceae) and its synteny to the A-genome 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:40.
Arachis hypogaea (peanut) is an important crop worldwide, being mostly used for edible oil production, direct consumption and animal feed. Cultivated peanut is an allotetraploid species with two different genome components, A and B. Genetic linkage maps can greatly assist molecular breeding and genomic studies. However, the development of linkage maps for A. hypogaea is difficult because it has very low levels of polymorphism. This can be overcome by the utilization of wild species of Arachis, which present the A- and B-genomes in the diploid state, and show high levels of genetic variability.
In this work, we constructed a B-genome linkage map, which will complement the previously published map for the A-genome of Arachis, and produced an entire framework for the tetraploid genome. This map is based on an F2 population of 93 individuals obtained from the cross between the diploid A. ipaënsis (K30076) and the closely related A. magna (K30097), the former species being the most probable B genome donor to cultivated peanut. In spite of being classified as different species, the parents showed high crossability and relatively low polymorphism (22.3%), compared to other interspecific crosses. The map has 10 linkage groups, with 149 loci spanning a total map distance of 1,294 cM. The microsatellite markers utilized, developed for other Arachis species, showed high transferability (81.7%). Segregation distortion was 21.5%. This B-genome map was compared to the A-genome map using 51 common markers, revealing a high degree of synteny between both genomes.
The development of genetic maps for Arachis diploid wild species with A- and B-genomes effectively provides a genetic map for the tetraploid cultivated peanut in two separate diploid components and is a significant advance towards the construction of a transferable reference map for Arachis. Additionally, we were able to identify affinities of some Arachis linkage groups with Medicago truncatula, which will allow the transfer of information from the nearly-complete genome sequences of this model legume to the peanut crop.
PMCID: PMC2674605  PMID: 19351409
17.  A Worldwide Phylogeography for the Human X Chromosome 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(6):e557.
We reasoned that by identifying genetic markers on human X chromosome regions where recombination is rare or absent, we should be able to construct X chromosome genealogies analogous to those based on Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms, with the advantage of providing information about both male and female components of the population.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We identified a 47 Kb interval containing an Alu insertion polymorphism (DXS225) and four microsatellites in complete linkage disequilibrium in a low recombination rate region of the long arm of the human X chromosome. This haplotype block was studied in 667 males from the HGDP-CEPH Human Genome Diversity Panel. The haplotypic diversity was highest in Africa (0.992±0.0025) and lowest in the Americas (0.839±0.0378), where no insertion alleles of DXS225 were observed. Africa shared few haplotypes with other geographical areas, while those exhibited significant sharing among themselves. Median joining networks revealed that the African haplotypes were numerous, occupied the periphery of the graph and had low frequency, whereas those from the other continents were few, central and had high frequency. Altogether, our data support a single origin of modern man in Africa and migration to occupy the other continents by serial founder effects. Coalescent analysis permitted estimation of the time of the most recent common ancestor as 182,000 years (56,700–479,000) and the estimated time of the DXS225 Alu insertion of 94,400 years (24,300–310,000). These dates are fully compatible with the current widely accepted scenario of the origin of modern mankind in Africa within the last 195,000 years and migration out-of-Africa circa 55,000–65,000 years ago.
A haplotypic block combining an Alu insertion polymorphism and four microsatellite markers on the human X chromosome is a useful marker to evaluate genetic diversity of human populations and provides a highly informative tool for evolutionary studies.
PMCID: PMC1891433  PMID: 17593958

Results 1-17 (17)