ResearchPad - genetics-and-genomics https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Breed- and trait-specific associations define the genetic architecture of calving performance traits in cattle]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12669 Reducing the incidence of both the degree of assistance required at calving, as well as the extent of perinatal mortality (PM) has both economic and societal benefits. The existence of heritable genetic variability in both traits signifies the presence of underlying genomic variability. The objective of the present study was to locate regions of the genome, and by extension putative genes and mutations, that are likely to be underpinning the genetic variability in direct calving difficulty (DCD), maternal calving difficulty (MCD), and PM. Imputed whole-genome single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data on up to 8,304 Angus (AA), 17,175 Charolais (CH), 16,794 Limousin (LM), and 18,474 Holstein-Friesian (HF) sires representing 5,866,712 calving events from descendants were used. Several putative quantitative trait loci (QTL) regions associated with calving performance both within and across dairy and beef breeds were identified, although the majority were both breed- and trait-specific. QTL surrounding and encompassing the myostatin (MSTN) gene were associated (P < 5 × 10−8) with DCD and PM in both the CH and LM populations. The well-known Q204X mutation was the fifth strongest association with DCD in the CH population and accounted for 5.09% of the genetic variance in DCD. In contrast, none of the 259 segregating variants in MSTN were associated (P > × 10−6) with DCD in the LM population but a genomic region 617 kb downstream of MSTN was associated (P < 5 × 10−8). The genetic architecture for DCD differed in the HF population relative to the CH and LM, where two QTL encompassing ZNF613 on Bos taurus autosome (BTA)18 and PLAG1 on BTA14 were identified in the former. Pleiotropic SNP associated with all three calving performance traits were also identified in the three beef breeds; 5 SNP were pleiotropic in AA, 116 in LM, and 882 in CH but no SNP was associated with more than one trait within the HF population. The majority of these pleiotropic SNP were on BTA2 surrounding MSTN and were associated with both DCD and PM. Multiple previously reported, but also novel QTL, associated with calving performance were detected in this large study. These also included QTL regions harboring SNP with the same direction of allele substitution effect for both DCD and MCD thus contributing to a more effective simultaneous selection for both traits.

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<![CDATA[Synergistic and antagonistic drug interactions in the treatment of systemic fungal infections]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N2ce62c7b-3e6b-482e-8634-b53ac2b4f021 Individuals with weakened immune systems – such as recipients of organ transplants – can fall prey to illnesses caused by fungi that are harmless to most people. These infections are difficult to manage because few treatments exist to fight fungi, and many have severe side effects. Antifungal drugs usually slow the growth of fungi cells rather than kill them, which means that patients must remain under treatment for a long time, or even for life.

One way to boost efficiency and combat resistant infections is to combine antifungal treatments with drugs that work in complementary ways: the drugs strengthen each other’s actions, and together they can potentially kill the fungus rather than slow its progression. However, not all drug combinations are helpful. In fact, certain drugs may interact in ways that make treatment less effective. This is particularly concerning because people with weakened immune systems often take many types of medications.

Here, Wambaugh et al. harnessed a new high-throughput system to screen how 2,000 drugs (many of which already approved to treat other conditions) affected the efficiency of a common antifungal called fluconazole. This highlighted 19 drugs that made fluconazole less effective, some being antibiotics routinely used to treat patients with weakened immune systems.

On the other hand, 40 drugs boosted the efficiency of fluconazole, including dicyclomine, a compound currently used to treat inflammatory bowel syndrome. In fact, pairing dicyclomine and fluconazole more than doubled the survival rate of mice with severe fungal infections. The combined treatment could target many species of harmful fungi, even those that had become resistant to fluconazole alone.

The results by Wambaugh et al. point towards better treatments for individuals with serious fungal infections. Drugs already in circulation for other conditions could be used to boost the efficiency of fluconazole, while antibiotics that do not decrease the efficiency of this medication should be selected to treat at-risk patients.

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<![CDATA[mRNA decapping is an evolutionarily conserved modulator of neuroendocrine signaling that controls development and ageing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N0f1afb56-7506-486f-a388-46163a1a6175 Eukaryotic 5’−3’ mRNA decay plays important roles during development and in response to stress, regulating gene expression post-transcriptionally. In Caenorhabditis elegans, deficiency of DCAP-1/DCP1, the essential co-factor of the major cytoplasmic mRNA decapping enzyme, impacts normal development, stress survival and ageing. Here, we show that overexpression of dcap-1 in neurons of worms is sufficient to increase lifespan through the function of the insulin/IGF-like signaling and its effector DAF-16/FOXO transcription factor. Neuronal DCAP-1 affects basal levels of INS-7, an ageing-related insulin-like peptide, which acts in the intestine to determine lifespan. Short-lived dcap-1 mutants exhibit a neurosecretion-dependent upregulation of intestinal ins-7 transcription, and diminished nuclear localization of DAF-16/FOXO. Moreover, neuronal overexpression of DCP1 in Drosophila melanogaster confers longevity in adults, while neuronal DCP1 deficiency shortens lifespan and affects wing morphogenesis, cell non-autonomously. Our genetic analysis in two model-organisms suggests a critical and conserved function of DCAP-1/DCP1 in developmental events and lifespan modulation.

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<![CDATA[Controlling gene activation by enhancers through a drug-inducible topological insulator]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N2bbf1e8f-ab02-4251-b534-23ad351c1342 While regulation of gene-enhancer interaction is intensively studied, its application remains limited. Here, we reconstituted arrays of CTCF-binding sites and devised a synthetic topological insulator with tetO for chromatin-engineering (STITCH). By coupling STITCH with tetR linked to the KRAB domain to induce heterochromatin and disable the insulation, we developed a drug-inducible system to control gene activation by enhancers. In human induced pluripotent stem cells, STITCH inserted between MYC and the enhancer down-regulated MYC. Progressive mutagenesis of STITCH led to a preferential escalation of the gene-enhancer interaction, corroborating the strong insulation ability of STITCH. STITCH also altered epigenetic states around MYC. Time-course analysis by drug induction uncovered deposition and removal of H3K27me3 repressive marks follows and reflects, but does not precede and determine, the expression change. Finally, STITCH inserted near NEUROG2 impaired the gene activation in differentiating neural progenitor cells. Thus, STITCH should be broadly useful for functional genetic studies.

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<![CDATA[Aire-dependent genes undergo Clp1-mediated 3’UTR shortening associated with higher transcript stability in the thymus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N4d3d694b-99f3-4334-810a-526890dd50da The ability of the immune system to avoid autoimmune disease relies on tolerization of thymocytes to self-antigens whose expression and presentation by thymic medullary epithelial cells (mTECs) is controlled predominantly by Aire at the transcriptional level and possibly regulated at other unrecognized levels. Aire-sensitive gene expression is influenced by several molecular factors, some of which belong to the 3’end processing complex, suggesting they might impact transcript stability and levels through an effect on 3’UTR shortening. We discovered that Aire-sensitive genes display a pronounced preference for short-3’UTR transcript isoforms in mTECs, a feature preceding Aire’s expression and correlated with the preferential selection of proximal polyA sites by the 3’end processing complex. Through an RNAi screen and generation of a lentigenic mouse, we found that one factor, Clp1, promotes 3’UTR shortening associated with higher transcript stability and expression of Aire-sensitive genes, revealing a post-transcriptional level of control of Aire-activated expression in mTECs.

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<![CDATA[Genetic affinity between Ningxia Hui and eastern Asian populations revealed by a set of InDel loci]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Naa3c2295-5c1b-4eaa-916f-9858243c3933

According to historical records, ethnic Hui in China obtained substantial genetic components from western Eurasian populations during their Islamization. However, some scholars believed that the ancestry of Hui people were native Chinese populations. In this context, the formation of Hui is due to simple cultural diffusion rather than demic diffusion. In this study, we examined the forensic and population genetic application of the 30 InDel loci in Hui population from Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Northwest China. Genotype analysis of 129 unrelated individuals revealed that all loci were in the Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium in Ningxia Hui. Forensic indices calculated from genotypes demonstrated that this panel, Qiagen DIPplex® Investigator kit, was powerful enough to be used in individual identification but not in paternity cases. Through population genetic analysis, we found that Ningxia Hui received much more genetic contributions from East Asian populations than those from western Eurasian populations. Finally, we statistically identified the admixture signal of eastern and western Eurasians, although the latter is weak, in Ningxia Hui via the three-population test. All this evidence suggested that the formation of Ningxia Hui was mainly attributed to the cultural transformation of local Chinese residents with minor gene flow from western Eurasian populations.

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<![CDATA[ALOX5, LPA, MMP9 and TPO gene polymorphisms increase atherothrombosis susceptibility in middle-aged Mexicans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N98cfc2f6-fe5d-4021-932a-63ab53f12790

Atherothrombosis is the cornerstone of cardiovascular diseases and the primary cause of death worldwide. Genetic contribution to disturbances in lipid metabolism, coagulation, inflammation and oxidative stress increase the susceptibility to its development and progression. Given its multifactorial nature, the multiloci studies have been proposed as potential predictors of susceptibility. A cross-sectional study was conducted to explore the contribution of nine genes involved in oxidative stress, inflammatory and thrombotic processes in 204 subjects with atherothrombosis matched by age and gender with a healthy group (n = 204). To evaluate the possibility of spurious associations owing to the Mexican population genetic heterogeneity as well as its ancestral origins, 300 unrelated mestizo individuals and 329 Native Americans were also included. ALOX5, LPA, MMP9 and TPO gene polymorphisms, as well as their multiallelic combinations, were twice to four times more frequent in those individuals with clinical manifestations of atherothrombosis than in the healthy group. Once adjusting for population stratification was done, these differences remained. Our results add further evidence on the contribution of ALOX5, LPA, MMP9 and TPO polymorphisms to atherothrombosis development in the middle-aged group, emphasizing the multiethnic studies in search of gene risk polymorphisms.

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<![CDATA[Disentangling the interplay of positive and negative selection forces that shaped mitochondrial genomes of Gammarus pisinnus and Gammarus lacustris]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nc05398be-3540-47ad-8119-eb6b26a443fa

We hypothesized that the mitogenome of Gammarus lacustris (GL), native to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, might exhibit genetic adaptations to the extreme environmental conditions associated with high altitudes (greater than 3000 m). To test this, we also sequenced the mitogenome of Gammarus pisinnus (GP), whose native range is close to the Tibetan plateau, but at a much lower altitude (200–1500 m). The two mitogenomes exhibited conserved mitochondrial architecture, but low identity between genes (55% atp8 to 76.1% cox1). Standard (homogeneous) phylogenetic models resolved Gammaridae as paraphyletic, but ‘heterogeneous’ CAT-GTR model as monophyletic. In indirect support of our working hypothesis, GL, GP and Gammarus fossarum exhibit evidence of episodic diversifying selection within the studied Gammaroidea dataset. The mitogenome of GL generally evolves under a strong purifying selection, whereas GP evolves under directional (especially pronounced in atp8) and/or relaxed selection. This is surprising, as GP does not inhabit a unique ecological niche compared to other gammarids. We propose that this rapid evolution of the GP mitogenome may be a reflection of its relatively recent speciation and heightened non-adaptive (putatively metabolic rate-driven) mutational pressures. To test these hypotheses, we urge sequencing mitogenomes of remaining Gammarus species populating the same geographical range as GP.

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<![CDATA[OmniChange: The Sequence Independent Method for Simultaneous Site-Saturation of Five Codons]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa7ab0ee8fa60ba7f19

Focused mutant library generation methods have been developed to improve mainly “localizable” enzyme properties such as activity and selectivity. Current multi-site saturation methods are restricted by the gene sequence, require subsequent PCR steps and/or additional enzymatic modifications. Here we report, a multiple site saturation mutagenesis method, OmniChange, which simultaneously and efficiently saturates five independent codons. As proof of principle, five chemically cleaved DNA fragments, each carrying one NNK-degenerated codon, were generated and assembled to full gene length in a one-pot-reaction without additional PCR-amplification or use of restriction enzymes or ligases. Sequencing revealed the presence of up to 27 different codons at individual positions, corresponding to 84.4% of the theoretical diversity offered by NNK-degeneration. OmniChange is absolutely sequence independent, does not require a minimal distance between mutated codons and can be accomplished within a day.

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<![CDATA[Gene Conversion Transfers the GAF-A Domain of Phosphodiesterase TbrPDEB1 to One Allele of TbrPDEB2 of Trypanosoma brucei]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da89ab0ee8fa60b9d706

Background

Chromosome 9 of Trypanosoma brucei contains two closely spaced, very similar open reading frames for cyclic nucleotide specific phosphodiesterases TbrPDEB1 and TbrPDEB2. They are separated by 2379 bp, and both code for phosphodiesterases with two GAF domains in their N-terminal moieties and a catalytic domain at the C-terminus.

Methods and Findings

The current study reveals that in the Lister427 strain of T. brucei, these two genes have undergone gene conversion, replacing the coding region for the GAF-A domain of TbrPDEB2 by the corresponding region of the upstream gene TbrPDEB1. As a consequence, these strains express two slightly different versions of TbrPDEB2. TbrPDEB2a represents the wild-type phosphodiesterase, while TbrPDEB2b represents the product of the converted gene. Earlier work on the subcellular localization of TbrPDEB1 and TbrPDEB2 had demonstrated that TbrPDEB1 is predominantly located in the flagellum, whereas TbrPDEB2 partially locates to the flagellum but largely remains in the cell body. The current findings raised the question of whether this dual localization of TbrPDEB2 may reflect the two alleles. To resolve this, TbrPDEB2 of strain STIB247 that is homozygous for TbrPDEB2a was tagged in situ, and its intracellular localization was analyzed.

Conclusions

The results obtained were very similar to those found earlier with Lister427, indicating that the dual localization of TbrPDEB2 reflects its true function and is not simply due to the presence of the two different alleles. Notably, the gene conversion event is unique for the Lister427 strain and all its derivatives. Based on this finding, a convenient PCR test has been developed that allows the stringent discrimination between Lister-derived strains that are common in many laboratories and other isolates. The technique is likely very useful to resolve questions about potential mix-ups of precious field isolates with the ubiquitous Lister strain.

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<![CDATA[The SET Domain Protein, Set3p, Promotes the Reliable Execution of Cytokinesis in Schizosaccharomyces pombe]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadeab0ee8fa60bbafce

In response to perturbation of the cell division machinery fission yeast cells activate regulatory networks that ensure the faithful completion of cytokinesis. For instance, when cells are treated with drugs that impede constriction of the actomyosin ring (low doses of Latrunculin A, for example) these networks ensure that cytokinesis is complete before progression into the subsequent mitosis. Here, we identify three previously uncharacterized genes, hif2, set3, and snt1, whose deletion results in hyper-sensitivity to LatA treatment and in increased rates of cytokinesis failure. Interestingly, these genes are orthologous to TBL1X, MLL5, and NCOR2, human genes that encode components of a histone deacetylase complex with a known role in cytokinesis. Through co-immunoprecipitation experiments, localization studies, and phenotypic analysis of gene deletion mutants, we provide evidence for an orthologous complex in fission yeast. Furthermore, in light of the putative role of the complex in chromatin modification, together with our results demonstrating an increase in Set3p levels upon Latrunculin A treatment, global gene expression profiles were generated. While this analysis demonstrated that the expression of cytokinesis genes was not significantly affected in set3Δ backgrounds, it did reveal defects in the ability of the mutant to regulate genes with roles in the cellular response to stress. Taken together, these findings support the existence of a conserved, multi-protein complex with a role in promoting the successful completion of cytokinesis.

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<![CDATA[The Evolution of Mammalian Gene Families]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b7c08aa463d7e06bd0bbc4e

Gene families are groups of homologous genes that are likely to have highly similar functions. Differences in family size due to lineage-specific gene duplication and gene loss may provide clues to the evolutionary forces that have shaped mammalian genomes. Here we analyze the gene families contained within the whole genomes of human, chimpanzee, mouse, rat, and dog. In total we find that more than half of the 9,990 families present in the mammalian common ancestor have either expanded or contracted along at least one lineage. Additionally, we find that a large number of families are completely lost from one or more mammalian genomes, and a similar number of gene families have arisen subsequent to the mammalian common ancestor. Along the lineage leading to modern humans we infer the gain of 689 genes and the loss of 86 genes since the split from chimpanzees, including changes likely driven by adaptive natural selection. Our results imply that humans and chimpanzees differ by at least 6% (1,418 of 22,000 genes) in their complement of genes, which stands in stark contrast to the oft-cited 1.5% difference between orthologous nucleotide sequences. This genomic “revolving door” of gene gain and loss represents a large number of genetic differences separating humans from our closest relatives.

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<![CDATA[Characterising a healthy adult with a rare HAO1 knockout to support a therapeutic strategy for primary hyperoxaluria]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nb88a4917-7794-4602-93d3-e597b0973b98

By sequencing autozygous human populations, we identified a healthy adult woman with lifelong complete knockout of HAO1 (expected ~1 in 30 million outbred people). HAO1 (glycolate oxidase) silencing is the mechanism of lumasiran, an investigational RNA interference therapeutic for primary hyperoxaluria type 1. Her plasma glycolate levels were 12 times, and urinary glycolate 6 times, the upper limit of normal observed in healthy reference individuals (n = 67). Plasma metabolomics and lipidomics (1871 biochemicals) revealed 18 markedly elevated biochemicals (>5 sd outliers versus n = 25 controls) suggesting additional HAO1 effects. Comparison with lumasiran preclinical and clinical trial data suggested she has <2% residual glycolate oxidase activity. Cell line p.Leu333SerfsTer4 expression showed markedly reduced HAO1 protein levels and cellular protein mis-localisation. In this woman, lifelong HAO1 knockout is safe and without clinical phenotype, de-risking a therapeutic approach and informing therapeutic mechanisms. Unlocking evidence from the diversity of human genetic variation can facilitate drug development.

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<![CDATA[Measuring the distribution of fitness effects in somatic evolution by combining clonal dynamics with dN/dS ratios]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nba8fc600-3667-4a12-bfcb-cbf3642af18f

The distribution of fitness effects (DFE) defines how new mutations spread through an evolving population. The ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous mutations (dN/dS) has become a popular method to detect selection in somatic cells. However the link, in somatic evolution, between dN/dS values and fitness coefficients is missing. Here we present a quantitative model of somatic evolutionary dynamics that determines the selective coefficients of individual driver mutations from dN/dS estimates. We then measure the DFE for somatic mutant clones in ostensibly normal oesophagus and skin. We reveal a broad distribution of fitness effects, with the largest fitness increases found for TP53 and NOTCH1 mutants (proliferative bias 1–5%). This study provides the theoretical link between dN/dS values and selective coefficients in somatic evolution, and measures the DFE of mutations in human tissues.

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<![CDATA[Revisiting the hypothesis of an energetic barrier to genome complexity between eukaryotes and prokaryotes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N0bd3f347-f06c-4152-b53d-fbf3e5c05574

The absence of genome complexity in prokaryotes, being the evolutionary precursors to eukaryotic cells comprising all complex life (the prokaryote–eukaryote divide), is a long-standing question in evolutionary biology. A previous study hypothesized that the divide exists because prokaryotic genome size is constrained by bioenergetics (prokaryotic power per gene or genome being significantly lower than eukaryotic ones). However, this hypothesis was evaluated using a relatively small dataset due to lack of data availability at the time, and is therefore controversial. Accordingly, we constructed a larger dataset of genomes, metabolic rates, cell sizes and ploidy levels to investigate whether an energetic barrier to genome complexity exists between eukaryotes and prokaryotes while statistically controlling for the confounding effects of cell size and phylogenetic signals. Notably, we showed that the differences in bioenergetics between prokaryotes and eukaryotes were less significant than those previously reported. More importantly, we found a limited contribution of power per genome and power per gene to the prokaryote–eukaryote dichotomy. Our findings indicate that the prokaryote–eukaryote divide is hard to explain from the energetic perspective. However, our findings may not entirely discount the traditional hypothesis; in contrast, they indicate the need for more careful examination.

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<![CDATA[On the relations of phase separation and Hi-C maps to epigenetics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N9d79cf97-4f2a-41bc-82e3-692014a66984

The relationship between compartmentalization of the genome and epigenetics is long and hoary. In 1928, Heitz defined heterochromatin as the largest differentiated chromatin compartment in eukaryotic nuclei. Müller's discovery of position-effect variegation in 1930 went on to show that heterochromatin is a cytologically visible state of heritable (epigenetic) gene repression. Current insights into compartmentalization have come from a high-throughput top-down approach where contact frequency (Hi-C) maps revealed the presence of compartmental domains that segregate the genome into heterochromatin and euchromatin. It has been argued that the compartmentalization seen in Hi-C maps is owing to the physiochemical process of phase separation. Oddly, the insights provided by these experimental and conceptual advances have remained largely silent on how Hi-C maps and phase separation relate to epigenetics. Addressing this issue directly in mammals, we have made use of a bottom-up approach starting with the hallmarks of constitutive heterochromatin, heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) and its binding partner the H3K9me2/3 determinant of the histone code. They are key epigenetic regulators in eukaryotes. Both hallmarks are also found outside mammalian constitutive heterochromatin as constituents of larger (0.1–5 Mb) heterochromatin-like domains and smaller (less than 100 kb) complexes. The well-documented ability of HP1 proteins to function as bridges between H3K9me2/3-marked nucleosomes contributes to polymer–polymer phase separation that packages epigenetically heritable chromatin states during interphase. Contacts mediated by HP1 ‘bridging’ are likely to have been detected in Hi-C maps, as evidenced by the B4 heterochromatic subcompartment that emerges from contacts between large KRAB-ZNF heterochromatin-like domains. Further, mutational analyses have revealed a finer, innate, compartmentalization in Hi-C experiments that probably reflect contacts involving smaller domains/complexes. Proteins that bridge (modified) DNA and histones in nucleosomal fibres—where the HP1–H3K9me2/3 interaction represents the most evolutionarily conserved paradigm—could drive and generate the fundamental compartmentalization of the interphase nucleus. This has implications for the mechanism(s) that maintains cellular identity, be it a terminally differentiated fibroblast or a pluripotent embryonic stem cell.

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<![CDATA[European and Asian contribution to the genetic diversity of mainland South American chickens]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ncda79dac-9268-47ad-b5cd-3f251554dabe

Chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) from the Americas have long been recognized as descendants of European chickens, transported by early Europeans since the fifteenth century. However, in recent years, a possible pre-Columbian introduction of chickens to South America by Polynesian seafarers has also been suggested. Here, we characterize the mitochondrial control region genetic diversity of modern chicken populations from South America and compare this to a worldwide dataset in order to investigate the potential maternal genetic origin of modern-day chicken populations in South America. The genetic analysis of newly generated chicken mitochondrial control region sequences from South America showed that the majority of chickens from the continent belong to mitochondrial haplogroup E. The rest belongs to haplogroups A, B and C, albeit at very low levels. Haplogroup D, a ubiquitous mitochondrial lineage in Island Southeast Asia and on Pacific Islands is not observed in continental South America. Modern-day mainland South American chickens are, therefore, closely allied with European and Asian chickens. Furthermore, we find high levels of genetic contributions from South Asian chickens to those in Europe and South America. Our findings demonstrate that modern-day genetic diversity of mainland South American chickens appear to have clear European and Asian contributions, and less so from Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Furthermore, there is also some indication that South Asia has more genetic contribution to European chickens than any other Asian chicken populations.

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<![CDATA[Suppressing proteasome mediated processing of topoisomerase II DNA-protein complexes preserves genome integrity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N94dd7b3a-57a6-4289-99ed-0166a036ade3

Topoisomerase II (TOP2) relieves topological stress in DNA by introducing double-strand breaks (DSBs) via a transient, covalently linked TOP2 DNA-protein intermediate, termed TOP2 cleavage complex (TOP2cc). TOP2ccs are normally rapidly reversible, but can be stabilized by TOP2 poisons, such as the chemotherapeutic agent etoposide (ETO). TOP2 poisons have shown significant variability in their therapeutic effectiveness across different cancers for reasons that remain to be determined. One potential explanation for the differential cellular response to these drugs is in the manner by which cells process TOP2ccs. Cells are thought to remove TOP2ccs primarily by proteolytic degradation followed by DNA DSB repair. Here, we show that proteasome-mediated repair of TOP2cc is highly error-prone. Pre-treating primary splenic mouse B-cells with proteasome inhibitors prevented the proteolytic processing of trapped TOP2ccs, suppressed the DNA damage response (DDR) and completely protected cells from ETO-induced genome instability, thereby preserving cellular viability. When degradation of TOP2cc was suppressed, the TOP2 enzyme uncoupled itself from the DNA following ETO washout, in an error-free manner. This suggests a potential mechanism of developing resistance to topoisomerase poisons by ensuring rapid TOP2cc reversal.

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<![CDATA[The single-cell eQTLGen consortium]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N3f43dc65-f5a4-4b03-bc29-3f0a031bd734

In recent years, functional genomics approaches combining genetic information with bulk RNA-sequencing data have identified the downstream expression effects of disease-associated genetic risk factors through so-called expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analysis. Single-cell RNA-sequencing creates enormous opportunities for mapping eQTLs across different cell types and in dynamic processes, many of which are obscured when using bulk methods. Rapid increase in throughput and reduction in cost per cell now allow this technology to be applied to large-scale population genetics studies. To fully leverage these emerging data resources, we have founded the single-cell eQTLGen consortium (sc-eQTLGen), aimed at pinpointing the cellular contexts in which disease-causing genetic variants affect gene expression. Here, we outline the goals, approach and potential utility of the sc-eQTLGen consortium. We also provide a set of study design considerations for future single-cell eQTL studies.

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<![CDATA[A large genomic insertion containing a duplicated follistatin gene is linked to the pea aphid male wing dimorphism]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ndc95f80c-2d04-467e-9038-5102891ed078

Wing dimorphisms have long served as models for examining the ecological and evolutionary tradeoffs associated with alternative phenotypes. Here, we investigated the genetic cause of the pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) male wing dimorphism, wherein males exhibit one of two morphologies that differ in correlated traits that include the presence or absence of wings. We mapped this trait difference to a single genomic region and, using third generation, long-read sequencing, we identified a 120 kb insertion in the wingless allele. This insertion includes a duplicated follistatin gene, which is a strong candidate gene in the minimal mapped interval to cause the dimorphism. We found that both alleles were present prior to pea aphid biotype lineage diversification, we estimated that the insertion occurred millions of years ago, and we propose that both alleles have been maintained in the species, likely due to balancing selection.

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