ResearchPad - population-genetics https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Polyploidy breaks speciation barriers in Australian burrowing frogs <i>Neobatrachus</i>]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_16332 Polyploidy or whole genome duplication is rare in animals and usually polyploid animals reproduce asexually. The Australian burrowing frogs of the genus Neobatrachus form an interesting exception amongst vertebrates with multiple independently originated autotetraploid sexual species. We generated population genomic data from 87 animals representing all six diploid and three tetraploid species of Neobatrachus. We show that, while diploid Neobatrachus species seem to be isolated from each other, their sister tetraploid species experience substantial levels of gene flow, and have wider distributions. Furthermore, we observe asymmetric gene flow from diploids to tetraploids. Based on our genomic and climate analyses we suggest that such inter-specific hybridization mediated by whole genome duplication rescues species diversity and allows tetraploids to more easily avoid impacts of climate-induced habitat loss.

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<![CDATA[Complex interactions can create persistent fluctuations in high-diversity ecosystems]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14702 Large abundance fluctuations are well-documented in natural populations. Yet, it is still not known to what extent these fluctuations stem from multi-species interactions, rather than environmental perturbations or demographic processes. There have been long-standing debates on these issues, questioning even the possibility of interaction-driven fluctuations, as they might induce species extinctions until equilibrium is reached.

The situation is all the more challenging and richer in complex high-dimensional settings (many interacting species, many niches, etc.), which feature qualitatively new phenomena, and where theory is still lacking. Here we show that high-diversity metacommunities can persist in dynamically-fluctuating states for extremely long periods of time without extinctions, and with a diversity well above that attained at equilibrium. We describe the quantitative conditions for these endogenous fluctuations, and the key fingerprints which would distinguish them from external perturbations.

We establish a theoretical framework for the many-species dynamics, derived from statistical physics of out-of-equilibrium systems. These settings present unique challenges, and observed behaviors may be counter-intuitive, making specialized theoretical techniques an indispensable tool. Our theory exactly maps the many-species problem to that of a single representative species (metapopulation). This allows us to draw connections with existing theory on perturbed metapopulations, while accounting for unique properties of endogenous feedbacks at high diversity.

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<![CDATA[Fine-scale population genetic structure of dengue mosquito vector, <i>Aedes aegypti</i>, in Metropolitan Manila, Philippines]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14656 Aedes aegypti is an efficient vector of dengue due to its highly adaptive nature to the urban environment. Although it is observed to have a short dispersal (active) capability, it has been shown to be capable of traveling long distances (passive) via human-mediated transportation. This duality may expand the distribution of the mosquito vector in urbanized areas. In this study, we examined the population genetic structure of Ae. aegypti in a highly urbanized and dengue-endemic region of the Philippines, Metropolitan Manila. Our findings indicated the dual dispersal nature of Ae. aegypti. The use of microsatellites as genetic markers also allowed us to describe the potential long-distance dispersal patterns, possibly through human-aided land transportation via the existing road networks of Metropolitan Manila.

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<![CDATA[Local and landscape-level diversity effects on forest functioning]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14584 Research of the past decades has shown that biodiversity is a fundamental driver of ecosystem functioning. However, most of this biodiversity–ecosystem functioning (BEF) research focused on experimental communities on small areas where environmental context was held constant. Whether the established BEF relationships also apply to natural or managed ecosystems that are embedded in variable landscape contexts remains unclear. In this study, we therefore investigated biodiversity effects on ecosystem functions in 36 forest stands that were located across a vast range of environmental conditions in managed landscapes of Central Europe (Switzerland). Specifically, we approximated forest productivity by leaf area index and forest phenology by growing-season length and tested effects of tree species richness and land-cover richness on these variables. We then examined the correlation and the confounding of these local and landscape-level diversity effects with environmental context variables related to forest stand structure (number of trees), landscape structure (land-cover edge density), climate (annual precipitation) and topography (mean altitude). We found that of all tested variables tree species richness was among the most important determinants of forest leaf area index and growing-season length. The positive effects of tree species richness on these two ecosystem variables were remarkably consistent across the different environmental conditions we investigated and we found little evidence of a context-dependent change in these biodiversity effects. Land-cover richness was not directly related to local forest functions but could nevertheless play a role via a positive effect on tree species richness.

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<![CDATA[Large-scale metabarcoding analysis of epipelagic and mesopelagic copepods in the Pacific]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14565 A clear insight into the large-scale community structure of planktonic copepods is critical to understanding the mechanisms controlling diversity and biogeography of marine taxa in terms of their high abundance, ubiquity, and sensitivity to environmental changes. Here, we applied a 28S metabarcoding approach to large-scale communities of epipelagic and mesopelagic copepods at 70 stations across the Pacific Ocean and three stations in the Arctic Ocean. Major patterns of community structure and diversity, influenced by water mass structures, agreed with results from previous morphology-based studies. However, a large-scale metabarcoding approach could detect community changes even under stable environmental conditions, including changes in the north/south subtropical gyres and east/west areas within each subtropical gyre. There were strong effects of the epipelagic environment on mesopelagic communities, and community subdivisions were observed in the environmentally stable mesopelagic layer. In each sampling station, higher operational taxonomic unit (OTU) numbers and lower phylogenetic diversity were observed in the mesopelagic layer than in the epipelagic layer, indicating a recent rapid increase in species numbers in the mesopelagic layer. The phylogenetic analysis utilizing representative sequences of OTUs revealed trends of recent emergence of cold-water OTUs, which are mainly distributed at high latitudes with low water temperatures. Conversely, the high diversity of copepods at low latitudes was suggested to have been formed through long evolution under high water temperature conditions. The metabarcoding results suggest that evolutionary processes have strong impacts on current patterns of copepod diversity, and support the “out of the tropics” theory explaining latitudinal diversity gradients of copepods. Diversity patterns in both epipelagic and mesopelagic copepods was highly correlated to sea surface temperature; thus, predicted global warming may have a significant impact on copepod diversity in both layers.

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<![CDATA[Improving yield and fruit quality traits in sweet passion fruit: Evidence for genotype by environment interaction and selection of promising genotypes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14554 Breeding for yield and fruit quality traits in passion fruits is complex due to the polygenic nature of these traits and the existence of genetic correlations among them. Therefore, studies focused on crop management practices and breeding using modern quantitative genetic approaches are still needed, especially for Passiflora alata, an understudied crop, popularly known as the sweet passion fruit. It is highly appreciated for its typical aroma and flavor characteristics. In this study, we aimed to reevaluate 30 genotypes previously selected for fruit quality from a 100 full-sib sweet passion fruit progeny in three environments, with a view to estimating the heritability and genetic correlations, and investigating the GEI and response to selection for nine fruit traits (weight, diameter and length of the fruit; thickness and weight of skin; weight and yield of fruit pulp; soluble solids, and yield). Pairwise genetic correlations among the fruit traits showed mostly intermediate to high values, especially those associated with fruit size and shape. Different genotype rankings were obtained regarding the predicted genetic values of weight of skin, thickness of skin and weight of pulp in each environment. Finally, we used a multiplicative selection index to select simultaneously for weight of pulp and against fruit skin thickness and weight. The response to selection was positive for all traits except soluble solids, and the 20% superior (six) genotypes were ranked. Based on the assumption that incompatibility mechanisms exist in P. alata, the selected genotypes were intercrossed in a complete diallel mating scheme. It is worth noting that all genotypes produced fruits, which is essential to guarantee yields in commercial orchards.

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<![CDATA[Genetic variation and phylogeographic structure of <i>Spodoptera exigua</i> in western China based on mitochondrial DNA and microsatellite markers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14552 The beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua, is a significant agricultural pest of numerous crops and has caused serious economic losses in China. To effectively control this pest, we analyzed its genetic variation, population genetic structure and demographic history. We used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) fragments of the cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) and eight nuclear microsatellite loci to investigate genetic diversity and population genetic structure of S. exigua populations at 14 sampling sites in western China. Both mtDNA and microsatellite data indicated low levels of genetic diversity among all populations. A moderate genetic differentiation among some S. exigua populations was detected. Neighbor-joining dendrograms, STRUCTURE, and principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) revealed two genetically distinct groups: the KEL group and the remaining population group. Isolation by distance (IBD) results showed a weak significant correlation between geographic distance and genetic differentiation. Haplotype networks, neutrality testing, and mismatch distribution analysis indicated that the beet armyworm experienced a recent rapid expansion without a recent genetic bottleneck in western China. Thus, the results of this population genetic study can help with the development of strategies for managing this highly migratory pest.

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<![CDATA[An Out-of-Patagonia migration explains the worldwide diversity and distribution of <i>Saccharomyces eubayanus</i> lineages]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14503 Lager yeast history has intrigued scientists for decades. The recent isolation of S. eubayanus, the lager yeast ancestor, represents an unprecedented opportunity to extend our knowledge on yeast phylogeography and the origins of the S. pastorianus lager hybrid. However, the genetic, phenotypic and evolutionary history of this species remains poorly known. Our work demonstrates that S. eubayanus isolates from Patagonia have the greatest genetic diversity, comprising the largest number of lineages within a single geographic region and experienced ancestral and recent admixture between lineages, likely suggesting co-occurrence in Patagonia. Importantly, some isolates exhibited significant phenotypic differences for traits such as high temperature and ethanol tolerance, together with fermentation performance, demonstrating their potential in the brewing industry for the generation of new styles of lager beers. Furthermore, our results support the idea of colonization from peripheral glacial refugia from the South, as responsible for the high genetic diversity observed in southern Chilean Patagonia. Our results allow hypothesizing a successful physiological adjustment of the species to the local conditions in Patagonia, explaining its wide distribution in the southern hemisphere.

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<![CDATA[Genetic diversity of <i>Echinococcus multilocularis</i> and <i>Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato</i> in Kyrgyzstan: The A2 haplotype of <i>E</i>. <i>multilocularis</i> is the predominant variant infecting humans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13871 Analysis of the genetic variability in Echinococcus species from different endemic countries have contributed to the knowledge in the taxonomy and phylogeography of these parasites. The most important species of this genus, Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato and Echinococcus multilocularis, co-exist in Kyrgyzstan causing serious public health issues. E. granulosus s.l. causes cystic echinococcosis and E. multilocularis is the causative agent of alveolar echinococcosis. The most relevant finding of our study is the identification of the cob/nad2/cox1 A2 haplotype of E. multilocularis as the most commonly found in humans and dogs. However, it remains unknown if this variant of E. multilocularis, based on genetic differences in mitochondrial genes, presents differences in virulence which could have contributed to the emergence of alveolar echinococcosis in Kyrgyzstan. The results also show a number of non-previously described genetic variants of E. multilocularis and E. granulosus s.s.

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<![CDATA[Impacts of host gender on <i>Schistosoma mansoni</i> risk in rural Uganda—A mixed-methods approach]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13851 Globally, over 230 million people are infected with schistosomiasis, an infectious disease caused by parasitic helminths. Humans can get infected when they contact water which contains Schistosoma parasites. Although the disease can be treated with a drug, people get rapidly reinfected in certain high-transmission settings. Drug treatment alone may not be sufficient to eliminate this disease and additional interventions such as health promotion or improvements in water and sanitation need to be scaled up. To provide recommendations to these control programmes we carried out interdisciplinary research in Eastern Uganda to understand the influence of gender on schistosomiasis risk. We found that the water contact behaviour of boys and girls is quite similar, and we did not see differences in reinfection or genetic diversity of the parasite between boys and girls. Differences in water contact between genders is greater in adults, and further research is required for these individuals. In this setting, infection rates are high in school-aged children and there are no differences between genders. These results emphasise improved control efforts for all school-aged children in communities like these. Our interdisciplinary approach provided complementary findings. Such an integrated approach can therefore have more power to meaningfully inform policy on schistosomiasis control.

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<![CDATA[Adaptive genetic diversity and evidence of population genetic structure in the endangered Sierra Madre Sparrow (<i>Xenospiza baileyi</i>)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11235 The magnitude and distribution of genetic diversity through space and time can provide useful information relating to evolutionary potential and conservation status in threatened species. In assessing genetic diversity in species that are of conservation concern, several studies have focused on the use of Toll-like receptors (TLRs). TLRs are innate immune genes related to pathogen resistance, and polymorphisms may reflect not only levels of functional diversity, but may also be used to assess genetic diversity within and among populations. Here, we combined four potentially adaptive markers (TLRs) with one mitochondrial (COI) marker to evaluate genetic variation in the endangered Sierra Madre Sparrow (Xenospiza baileyi). This species offers an ideal model to investigate population and evolutionary genetic processes that may be occurring in a habitat restricted endangered species with disjunct populations (Mexico City and Durango), the census sizes of which differ by an order of magnitude. TLRs diversity in the Sierra Madre Sparrow was relatively high, which was not expected given its two small, geographically isolated populations. Genetic diversity was different (but not significantly so) between the two populations, with less diversity seen in the smaller Durango population. Population genetic structure between populations was due to isolation and different selective forces acting on different TLRs; population structure was also evident in COI. Reduction of genetic diversity in COI was observed over 20 years in the Durango population, a result likely caused by habitat loss, a factor which may be the main cause of diversity decline generally. Our results provide information related to the ways in which adaptive variation can be altered by demographic changes due to human-mediated habitat alterations. Furthermore, our findings may help to guide conservation schemes for both populations and their restricted habitat.

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<![CDATA[SYGL-1 and LST-1 link niche signaling to PUF RNA repression for stem cell maintenance in Caenorhabditis elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ab4e873463d7e0cbd0422dd

Central questions in regenerative biology include how stem cells are maintained and how they transition from self-renewal to differentiation. Germline stem cells (GSCs) in Caeno-rhabditis elegans provide a tractable in vivo model to address these questions. In this system, Notch signaling and PUF RNA binding proteins, FBF-1 and FBF-2 (collectively FBF), maintain a pool of GSCs in a naïve state. An open question has been how Notch signaling modulates FBF activity to promote stem cell self-renewal. Here we report that two Notch targets, SYGL-1 and LST-1, link niche signaling to FBF. We find that SYGL-1 and LST-1 proteins are cytoplasmic and normally restricted to the GSC pool region. Increasing the distribution of SYGL-1 expands the pool correspondingly, and vast overexpression of either SYGL-1 or LST-1 generates a germline tumor. Thus, SYGL-1 and LST-1 are each sufficient to drive “stemness” and their spatial restriction prevents tumor formation. Importantly, SYGL-1 and LST-1 can only drive tumor formation when FBF is present. Moreover, both proteins interact physically with FBF, and both are required to repress a signature FBF mRNA target. Together, our results support a model in which SYGL-1 and LST-1 form a repressive complex with FBF that is crucial for stem cell maintenance. We further propose that progression from a naïve stem cell state to a state primed for differentiation relies on loss of SYGL-1 and LST-1, which in turn relieves FBF target RNAs from repression. Broadly, our results provide new insights into the link between niche signaling and a downstream RNA regulatory network and how this circuitry governs the balance between self-renewal and differentiation.

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<![CDATA[Restricted Genetic Variation in Populations of Achatina (Lissachatina) fulica outside of East Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands Points to the Indian Ocean Islands as the Earliest Known Common Source]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dac9ab0ee8fa60bb3aab

The Giant African Land Snail, Achatina ( = Lissachatina) fulica Bowdich, 1822, is a tropical crop pest species with a widespread distribution across East Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, the Pacific, the Caribbean, and North and South America. Its current distribution is attributed primarily to the introduction of the snail to new areas by Man within the last 200 years. This study determined the extent of genetic diversity in global A. fulica populations using the mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA gene. A total of 560 individuals were evaluated from 39 global populations obtained from 26 territories. Results reveal 18 distinct A. fulica haplotypes; 14 are found in East Africa and the Indian Ocean islands, but only two haplotypes from the Indian Ocean islands emerged from this region, the C haplotype, now distributed across the tropics, and the D haplotype in Ecuador and Bolivia. Haplotype E from the Philippines, F from New Caledonia and Barbados, O from India and Q from Ecuador are variants of the emergent C haplotype. For the non-native populations, the lack of genetic variation points to founder effects due to the lack of multiple introductions from the native range. Our current data could only point with certainty to the Indian Ocean islands as the earliest known common source of A. fulica across the globe, which necessitates further sampling in East Africa to determine the source populations of the emergent haplotypes.

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<![CDATA[SNP Identification by Transcriptome Sequencing and Candidate Gene-Based Association Analysis for Heat Tolerance in the Bay Scallop Argopecten irradians]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da90ab0ee8fa60b9fe9f

The northern bay scallop Argopecten irradians irradians (Lamarck) and the southern bay scallop Argopecten irradians concentricus (Say) were introduced into China in the 1980s and 1990s, and are now major aquaculture molluscs in China. Here, we report the transcriptome sequencing of the two subspecies and the subsequent association analysis on candidate gene on the trait of heat tolerance. In total, RNA from six tissues of 67 and 42 individuals of northern and southern bay scallops, respectively, were used and 55.5 and 34.9 million raw reads were generated, respectively. There were 82,267 unigenes produced in total, of which 32,595 were annotated. Altogether, 32,206 and 23,312 high-quality SNPs were identified for northern and southern bay scallops, respectively. For case-control analysis, two intercrossed populations were heat stress treated, and both heat-susceptible and heat-resistant individuals were collected. According to annotation and SNP allele frequency analysis, 476 unigenes were selected, and 399 pairs of primers were designed. Genotyping was conducted using the high-resolution melting method, and Fisher’s exact test was performed for allele frequency comparison between the heat-susceptible and heat-resistant groups. SNP all-53308-760 T/C showed a significant difference in allele frequency between the heat-susceptible and heat-resistant groups. Notably, considerable difference in allele frequency at this locus was also observed between the sequenced natural populations. These results suggest that SNP all-53308-760 T/C may be related to the heat tolerance of the bay scallop. Moreover, quantitative expression analysis revealed that the expression level of all-53308 was negatively correlated with heat tolerance of the bay scallop.

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<![CDATA[Parallelism in eco-morphology and gene expression despite variable evolutionary and genomic backgrounds in a Holarctic fish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N4fc7d71e-6de4-4251-8df9-22327ccf5952

Understanding the extent to which ecological divergence is repeatable is essential for predicting responses of biodiversity to environmental change. Here we test the predictability of evolution, from genotype to phenotype, by studying parallel evolution in a salmonid fish, Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus), across eleven replicate sympatric ecotype pairs (benthivorous-planktivorous and planktivorous-piscivorous) and two evolutionary lineages. We found considerable variability in eco-morphological divergence, with several traits related to foraging (eye diameter, pectoral fin length) being highly parallel even across lineages. This suggests repeated and predictable adaptation to environment. Consistent with ancestral genetic variation, hundreds of loci were associated with ecotype divergence within lineages of which eight were shared across lineages. This shared genetic variation was maintained despite variation in evolutionary histories, ranging from postglacial divergence in sympatry (ca. 10-15kya) to pre-glacial divergence (ca. 20-40kya) with postglacial secondary contact. Transcriptome-wide gene expression (44,102 genes) was highly parallel across replicates, involved biological processes characteristic of ecotype morphology and physiology, and revealed parallelism at the level of regulatory networks. This expression divergence was not only plastic but in part genetically controlled by parallel cis-eQTL. Lastly, we found that the magnitude of phenotypic divergence was largely correlated with the genetic differentiation and gene expression divergence. In contrast, the direction of phenotypic change was mostly determined by the interplay of adaptive genetic variation, gene expression, and ecosystem size. Ecosystem size further explained variation in putatively adaptive, ecotype-associated genomic patterns within and across lineages, highlighting the role of environmental variation and stochasticity in parallel evolution. Together, our findings demonstrate the parallel evolution of eco-morphology and gene expression within and across evolutionary lineages, which is controlled by the interplay of environmental stochasticity and evolutionary contingencies, largely overcoming variable evolutionary histories and genomic backgrounds.

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<![CDATA[Origin of the natural variation in the storage of dietary carotenoids in freshwater amphipod crustaceans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N905bc2f7-7243-429f-9b99-7855ae079227

Carotenoids are diverse lipophilic natural pigments which are stored in variable amounts by animals. Given the multiple biological functions of carotenoids, such variation may have strong implications in evolutionary biology. Crustaceans such as Gammarus amphipods store large amounts of these pigments and inter-population variation occurs. While differences in parasite selective pressure have been proposed to explain this variation, the contribution of other factors such as genetic differences in the gammarid ability to assimilate and/or store pigments, and the environmental availability of carotenoids cannot be dismissed. This study investigates the relative contributions of the gammarid genotype and of the environmental availability of carotenoids in the natural variability in carotenoid storage. It further explores the link of this natural variability in carotenoid storage with major crustacean immune parameters. We addressed these aspects using the cryptic diversity in the amphipod crustacean Gammarus fossarum and a diet supplementation protocol in the laboratory. Our results suggest that natural variation in G. fossarum storage of dietary carotenoids results from both the availability of the pigments in the environment and the genetically-based ability of the gammarids to assimilate and/or store them, which is associated to levels of stimulation of cellular immune defences. While our results may support the hypothesis that carotenoids storage in this crustacean may evolve in response to parasitic pressure, a better understanding of the specific roles of this large pigment storage in the crustacean physiology is needed.

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<![CDATA[Genetic diversity and population structure of Terapon jarbua (Forskål, 1775) (Teleostei, Terapontidae) in Malaysian waters]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N2dd3ec41-119f-400b-a562-4f899bb6e7a2
Abstract

A background study is important for the conservation and stock management of a species. Terapon jarbua is a coastal Indo-Pacific species, sourced for human consumption. This study examined 134 samples from the central west and east coasts of Peninsular (West) Malaysia and East Malaysia. A 1446-bp concatenated dataset of mtDNA COI and Cyt b sequences was used in this study and 83 haplotypes were identified, of which 79 are unique haplotypes and four are shared haplotypes. Populations of T. jarbua in Malaysia are genetically heterogenous as shown by the high level of haplotype diversity ranging from 0.9167–0.9952, low nucleotide diversity ranging from 0.0288–0.3434, and high FST values (within population genetic variation). Population genetic structuring is not distinct as shown by the shared haplotypes between geographic populations and mixtures of haplotypes from different populations within the same genetic cluster. The gene flow patterns and population structuring observed among these regions are likely attributed to geographical distance, past historical events, allopatric speciation, dispersal ability and water currents. For instance, the mixture of haplotypes revealed an extraordinary migration ability of T. jarbua (>1200 km) via ancient river connectivity. The negative overall value of the neutrality test and a non-significant mismatch distribution are consistent with demographic expansion(s) in the past. The median-joining network concurred with the maximum likelihood haplotype tree with three major clades resolved. The scarcity of information on this species is an obstacle for future management and conservation purposes. Hence, this study aims to contribute information on the population structure, genetic diversity, and historical demography of T. jarbua in Malaysia.

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<![CDATA[A graph-based algorithm for RNA-seq data normalization]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N0b813aa9-b155-4778-93ba-b0f37d26ae8a

The use of RNA-sequencing has garnered much attention in recent years for characterizing and understanding various biological systems. However, it remains a major challenge to gain insights from a large number of RNA-seq experiments collectively, due to the normalization problem. Normalization has been challenging due to an inherent circularity, requiring that RNA-seq data be normalized before any pattern of differential (or non-differential) expression can be ascertained; meanwhile, the prior knowledge of non-differential transcripts is crucial to the normalization process. Some methods have successfully overcome this problem by the assumption that most transcripts are not differentially expressed. However, when RNA-seq profiles become more abundant and heterogeneous, this assumption fails to hold, leading to erroneous normalization. We present a normalization procedure that does not rely on this assumption, nor prior knowledge about the reference transcripts. This algorithm is based on a graph constructed from intrinsic correlations among RNA-seq transcripts and seeks to identify a set of densely connected vertices as references. Application of this algorithm on our synthesized validation data showed that it could recover the reference transcripts with high precision, thus resulting in high-quality normalization. On a realistic data set from the ENCODE project, this algorithm gave good results and could finish in a reasonable time. These preliminary results imply that we may be able to break the long persisting circularity problem in RNA-seq normalization.

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<![CDATA[The genetic diversity and population structure of Sophora alopecuroides (Faboideae) as determined by microsatellite markers developed from transcriptome]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N8ed88142-6689-430c-b82a-b033b4ff58ac

Sophora alopecuroides (Faboideae) is an endemic species, mainly distributed in northwest China. However, the limited molecular markers range for this species hinders breeding and genetic studies. A total of 20,324 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were identified from 118,197 assembled transcripts and 18 highly polymorphic SSR markers were used to explore the genetic diversity and population structure of S. alopecuroides from 23 different geographical populations. A relatively low genetic diversity was found in S. alopecuroides based on mean values of the number of effective alleles (Ne = 1.81), expected heterozygosity (He = 0.39) and observed heterozygosity (Ho = 0.55). The results of AMOVA indicated higher levels of variation within populations than between populations. Bayesian-based cluster analysis, principal coordinates analysis and Neighbor-Joining phylogeny analysis roughly divided all genotypes into four major groups with some admixtures. Meanwhile, geographic barriers would have restricted gene flow between the northern and southern regions (separated by Tianshan Mountains), wherein the two relatively ancestral and independent clusters of S. alopecuroides occur. History trade and migration along the Silk Road would together have promoted the spread of S. alopecuroides from the western to the eastern regions of the northwest plateau in China, resulting in the current genetic diversity and population structure. The transcriptomic SSR markers provide a valuable resource for understanding the genetic diversity and population structure of S. alopecuroides, and will assist effective conservation management.

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<![CDATA[Diversity of A(H5N1) clade 2.3.2.1c avian influenza viruses with evidence of reassortment in Cambodia, 2014-2016]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf51e501a-7d3b-493b-bbd9-bf4dbc27c932

In Cambodia, highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) subtype viruses circulate endemically causing poultry outbreaks and zoonotic human cases. To investigate the genomic diversity and development of endemicity of the predominantly circulating clade 2.3.2.1c A(H5N1) viruses, we characterised 68 AIVs detected in poultry, the environment and from a single human A(H5N1) case from January 2014 to December 2016. Full genomes were generated for 42 A(H5N1) viruses. Phylogenetic analysis shows that five clade 2.3.2.1c genotypes, designated KH1 to KH5, were circulating in Cambodia during this period. The genotypes arose through multiple reassortment events with the neuraminidase (NA) and internal genes belonging to H5N1 clade 2.3.2.1a, clade 2.3.2.1b or A(H9N2) lineages. Phylogenies suggest that the Cambodian AIVs were derived from viruses circulating between Cambodian and Vietnamese poultry. Molecular analyses show that these viruses contained the hemagglutinin (HA) gene substitutions D94N, S133A, S155N, T156A, T188I and K189R known to increase binding to the human-type α2,6-linked sialic acid receptors. Two A(H5N1) viruses displayed the M2 gene S31N or A30T substitutions indicative of adamantane resistance, however, susceptibility testing towards neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir, zanamivir, lananmivir and peramivir) of a subset of thirty clade 2.3.2.1c viruses showed susceptibility to all four drugs. This study shows that A(H5N1) viruses continue to reassort with other A(H5N1) and A(H9N2) viruses that are endemic in the region, highlighting the risk of introduction and emergence of novel A(H5N1) genotypes in Cambodia.

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