ResearchPad - sex-chromosomes https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Corticosterone and testosterone treatment influence expression of gene pathways linked to meiotic segregation in preovulatory follicles of the domestic hen]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14547 Decades of work indicate that female birds can control their offspring sex ratios in response to environmental and social cues. In laying hens, hormones administered immediately prior to sex chromosome segregation can exert sex ratio skews, indicating that these hormones may act directly on the germinal disc to influence which sex chromosome is retained in the oocyte and which is discarded into an unfertilizable polar body. We aimed to uncover the gene pathways involved in this process by testing whether treatments with testosterone or corticosterone that were previously shown to influence sex ratios elicit changes in the expression of genes and/or gene pathways involved in the process of meiotic segregation. We injected laying hens with testosterone, corticosterone, or control oil 5h prior to ovulation and collected germinal discs from the F1 preovulatory follicle in each hen 1.5h after injection. We used RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) followed by DESeq2 and gene set enrichment analyses to identify genes and gene pathways that were differentially expressed between germinal discs of control and hormone-treated hens. Corticosterone treatment triggered downregulation of 13 individual genes, as well as enrichment of gene sets related to meiotic spindle organization and chromosome segregation, and additional gene sets that function in ion transport. Testosterone treatment triggered upregulation of one gene, and enrichment of one gene set that functions in nuclear chromosome segregation. This work indicates that corticosterone can be a potent regulator of meiotic processes and provides potential gene targets on which corticosterone and/or testosterone may act to influence offspring sex ratios in birds.

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<![CDATA[Rectifying long-standing misconceptions about the ρ statistic for molecular dating]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c75ac76d5eed0c484d08825

When divided by a given mutation rate, the ρ (rho) statistic provides a simple estimator of the age of a clade within a phylogenetic tree by averaging the number of mutations from each sample in the clade to its root. However, a long-standing critique of the use of ρ in genetic dating has been quite often cited. Here we show that the critique is unfounded. We demonstrate by a formal mathematical argument and illustrate with a simulation study that ρ estimates are unbiased and also that ρ and maximum likelihood estimates do not differ in any systematic fashion. We also demonstrate that the claim that the associated confidence intervals commonly estimate the uncertainty inappropriately is flawed since it relies on a means of calculating standard errors that is not used by any other researchers, whereas an established expression for the standard error is largely unproblematic. We conclude that ρ dating, alongside approaches such as maximum likelihood (ML) and Bayesian inference, remains a useful tool for genetic dating.

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<![CDATA[Recombination rate variation shapes barriers to introgression across butterfly genomes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c65dcb6d5eed0c484dec09f

Hybridisation and introgression can dramatically alter the relationships among groups of species, leading to phylogenetic discordance across the genome and between populations. Introgression can also erode species differences over time, but selection against introgression at certain loci acts to maintain postmating species barriers. Theory predicts that species barriers made up of many loci throughout the genome should lead to a broad correlation between introgression and recombination rate, which determines the extent to which selection on deleterious foreign alleles will affect neutral alleles at physically linked loci. Here, we describe the variation in genealogical relationships across the genome among three species of Heliconius butterflies: H. melpomene (mel), H. cydno (cyd), and H. timareta (tim), using whole genomes of 92 individuals, and ask whether this variation can be explained by heterogeneous barriers to introgression. We find that species relationships vary predictably at the chromosomal scale. By quantifying recombination rate and admixture proportions, we then show that rates of introgression are predicted by variation in recombination rate. This implies that species barriers are highly polygenic, with selection acting against introgressed alleles across most of the genome. In addition, long chromosomes, which have lower recombination rates, produce stronger barriers on average than short chromosomes. Finally, we find a consistent difference between two species pairs on either side of the Andes, which suggests differences in the architecture of the species barriers. Our findings illustrate how the combined effects of hybridisation, recombination, and natural selection, acting at multitudes of loci over long periods, can dramatically sculpt the phylogenetic relationships among species.

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<![CDATA[Transition from a meiotic to a somatic-like DNA damage response during the pachytene stage in mouse meiosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c4a0d5eed0c4845e8a80

Homologous recombination (HR) is the principal mechanism of DNA repair acting during meiosis and is fundamental for the segregation of chromosomes and the increase of genetic diversity. Nevertheless, non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) mechanisms can also act during meiosis, mainly in response to exogenously-induced DNA damage in late stages of first meiotic prophase. In order to better understand the relationship between these two repair pathways, we studied the response to DNA damage during male mouse meiosis after gamma radiation. We clearly discerned two types of responses immediately after treatment. From leptotene to early pachytene, exogenous damage triggered the massive presence of γH2AX throughout the nucleus, which was associated with DNA repair mediated by HR components (DMC1 and RAD51). This early pathway finished with the sequential removal of DMC1 and RAD51 and was no longer inducible at mid pachytene. However, from mid-pachytene to diplotene, γH2AX appeared as large discrete foci. This late repair pattern was mediated initially by NHEJ, involving Ku70 and XRCC4, which were constitutively present, and 53BP1, which appeared at sites of damage soon after irradiation. Nevertheless, 24 hours after irradiation, a HR pathway involving RAD51 but not DMC1 mostly replaced NHEJ. Additionally, we observed the occurrence of synaptonemal complex bridges between bivalents, most likely representing chromosome translocation events that may involve DMC1, RAD51 or 53BP1. Our results reinforce the idea that the early “meiotic” repair pathway that acts by default at the beginning of meiosis is replaced from mid-pachytene onwards by a “somatic-like” repair pattern. This shift might be important to resolve DNA damage (either endogenous or exogenous) that could not be repaired by the early meiotic mechanisms, for instance those in the sex chromosomes, which lack a homologous chromosome to repair with. This transition represents another layer of functional changes that occur in meiotic cells during mid pachytene, in addition to epigenetic reprograming, reactivation of transcription, changes in the gene expression profile and acquisition of competence to proceed to metaphase.

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<![CDATA[Narya, a RING finger domain-containing protein, is required for meiotic DNA double-strand break formation and crossover maturation in Drosophila melanogaster]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d00e5d5eed0c484036796

Meiotic recombination, which is necessary to ensure that homologous chromosomes segregate properly, begins with the induction of meiotic DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and ends with the repair of a subset of those breaks into crossovers. Here we investigate the roles of two paralogous genes, CG12200 and CG31053, which we have named Narya and Nenya, respectively, due to their relationship with a structurally similar protein named Vilya. We find that narya recently evolved from nenya by a gene duplication event, and we show that these two RING finger domain-containing proteins are functionally redundant with respect to a critical role in DSB formation. Narya colocalizes with Vilya foci, which are known to define recombination nodules, or sites of crossover formation. A separation-of-function allele of narya retains the capacity for DSB formation but cannot mature those DSBs into crossovers. We further provide data on the physical interaction of Narya, Nenya and Vilya, as assayed by the yeast two-hybrid system. Together these data support the view that all three RING finger domain-containing proteins function in the formation of meiotic DNA DSBs and in the process of crossing over.

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<![CDATA[RNA-on-X 1 and 2 in Drosophila melanogaster fulfill separate functions in dosage compensation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c18139fd5eed0c484775618

In Drosophila melanogaster, the male-specific lethal (MSL) complex plays a key role in dosage compensation by stimulating expression of male X-chromosome genes. It consists of MSL proteins and two long noncoding RNAs, roX1 and roX2, that are required for spreading of the complex on the chromosome and are redundant in the sense that loss of either does not affect male viability. However, despite rapid evolution, both roX species are present in diverse Drosophilidae species, raising doubts about their full functional redundancy. Thus, we have investigated consequences of deleting roX1 and/or roX2 to probe their specific roles and redundancies in D. melanogaster. We have created a new mutant allele of roX2 and show that roX1 and roX2 have partly separable functions in dosage compensation. In larvae, roX1 is the most abundant variant and the only variant present in the MSL complex when the complex is transmitted (physically associated with the X-chromosome) in mitosis. Loss of roX1 results in reduced expression of the genes on the X-chromosome, while loss of roX2 leads to MSL-independent upregulation of genes with male-biased testis-specific transcription. In roX1 roX2 mutant, gene expression is strongly reduced in a manner that is not related to proximity to high-affinity sites. Our results suggest that high tolerance of mis-expression of the X-chromosome has evolved. We propose that this may be a common property of sex-chromosomes, that dosage compensation is a stochastic process and its precision for each individual gene is regulated by the density of high-affinity sites in the locus.

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<![CDATA[Is the Karyotype of Neotropical Boid Snakes Really Conserved? Cytotaxonomy, Chromosomal Rearrangements and Karyotype Organization in the Boidae Family]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2aab0ee8fa60b82242

Boids are primitive snakes from a basal lineage that is widely distributed in Neotropical region. Many of these species are both morphologically and biogeographically divergent, and the relationship among some species remains uncertain even with evolutionary and phylogenetic studies being proposed for the group. For a better understanding of the evolutionary relationship between these snakes, we cytogenetically analysed 7 species and 3 subspecies of Neotropical snakes from the Boidae family using different chromosomal markers. The karyotypes of Boa constrictor occidentalis, Corallus hortulanus, Eunectes notaeus, Epicrates cenchria and Epicrates assisi are presented here for the first time with the redescriptions of the karyotypes of Boa constrictor constrictor, B. c. amarali, Eunectes murinus and Epicrates crassus. The three subspecies of Boa, two species of Eunectes and three species of Epicrates exhibit 2n = 36 chromosomes. In contrast, C. hortulanus presented a totally different karyotype composition for the Boidae family, showing 2n = 40 chromosomes with a greater number of macrochromosomes. Furthermore, chromosomal mapping of telomeric sequences revealed the presence of interstitial telomeric sites (ITSs) on many chromosomes in addition to the terminal markings on all chromosomes of all taxa analysed, with the exception of E. notaeus. Thus, we demonstrate that the karyotypes of these snakes are not as highly conserved as previously thought. Moreover, we provide an overview of the current cytotaxonomy of the group.

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<![CDATA[Sex-Linked Chromosome Heterozygosity in Males of Tityus confluens (Buthidae): A Clue about the Presence of Sex Chromosomes in Scorpions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa7ab0ee8fa60ba7d7d

Scorpions of the genus Tityus show holokinetic chromosomes, achiasmatic male meiosis and an absence of heteromorphic sex chromosomes, like all Buthidae. In this work, we analysed the meiotic behaviour and chromosome rearrangements of a population of the scorpion Tityus confluens, characterising the cytotypes of males, females and embryos with different cytogenetic techniques. This revealed that all the females were structural homozygotes, while all the males were structural heterozygotes for different chromosome rearrangements. Four different cytotypes were described in males, which differed in chromosome number (2n = 5 and 2n = 6) and meiotic multivalent configurations (chains of four, five and six chromosomes). Based on a detailed mitotic and meiotic analysis, we propose a sequence of chromosome rearrangements that could give rise to each cytotype and in which fusions have played a major role. Based on the comparison of males, females and a brood of embryos, we also propose that the presence of multivalents in males and homologous pairs in females could be associated with the presence of cryptic sex chromosomes, with the male being the heterogametic sex. We propose that the ancestral karyotype of this species could have had homomorphic XY/XX (male/female) sex chromosomes and a fusion could have occurred between the Y chromosome and an autosome.

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<![CDATA[LPEseq: Local-Pooled-Error Test for RNA Sequencing Experiments with a Small Number of Replicates]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db34ab0ee8fa60bd2a0e

RNA-Sequencing (RNA-Seq) provides valuable information for characterizing the molecular nature of the cells, in particular, identification of differentially expressed transcripts on a genome-wide scale. Unfortunately, cost and limited specimen availability often lead to studies with small sample sizes, and hypothesis testing on differential expression between classes with a small number of samples is generally limited. The problem is especially challenging when only one sample per each class exists. In this case, only a few methods among many that have been developed are applicable for identifying differentially expressed transcripts. Thus, the aim of this study was to develop a method able to accurately test differential expression with a limited number of samples, in particular non-replicated samples. We propose a local-pooled-error method for RNA-Seq data (LPEseq) to account for non-replicated samples in the analysis of differential expression. Our LPEseq method extends the existing LPE method, which was proposed for microarray data, to allow examination of non-replicated RNA-Seq experiments. We demonstrated the validity of the LPEseq method using both real and simulated datasets. By comparing the results obtained using the LPEseq method with those obtained from other methods, we found that the LPEseq method outperformed the others for non-replicated datasets, and showed a similar performance with replicated samples; LPEseq consistently showed high true discovery rate while not increasing the rate of false positives regardless of the number of samples. Our proposed LPEseq method can be effectively used to conduct differential expression analysis as a preliminary design step or for investigation of a rare specimen, for which a limited number of samples is available.

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<![CDATA[An Advanced Model to Precisely Estimate the Cell-Free Fetal DNA Concentration in Maternal Plasma]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da39ab0ee8fa60b875c6

Background

With the speedy development of sequencing technologies, noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) has been widely applied in clinical practice for testing for fetal aneuploidy. The cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) concentration in maternal plasma is the most critical parameter for this technology because it affects the accuracy of NIPT-based sequencing for fetal trisomies 21, 18 and 13. Several approaches have been developed to calculate the cffDNA fraction of the total cell-free DNA in the maternal plasma. However, most approaches depend on specific single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) allele information or are restricted to male fetuses.

Methods

In this study, we present an innovative method to accurately deduce the concentration of the cffDNA fraction using only maternal plasma DNA. SNPs were classified into four maternal-fetal genotype combinations and three boundaries were added to capture effective SNP loci in which the mother was homozygous and the fetus was heterozygous. The median value of the concentration of the fetal DNA fraction was estimated using the effective SNPs. A depth-bias correction was performed using simulated data and corresponding regression equations for adjustments when the depth of the sequencing data was below 100-fold or the cffDNA fraction is less than 10%.

Results

Using our approach, the median of the relative bias was 0.4% in 18 maternal plasma samples with a median sequencing depth of 125-fold. There was a significant association (r = 0.935) between our estimations and the estimations inferred from the Y chromosome. Furthermore, this approach could precisely estimate a cffDNA fraction as low as 3%, using only maternal plasma DNA at the targeted region with a sequencing depth of 65-fold. We also used PCR instead of parallel sequencing to calculate the cffDNA fraction. There was a significant association (r = 98.2%) between our estimations and those inferred from the Y chromosome.

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<![CDATA[Sex Chromosomes and Karyotype of the (Nearly) Mythical Creature, the Gila Monster, Heloderma suspectum (Squamata: Helodermatidae)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa7ab0ee8fa60ba7c98

A wide variety of sex determination systems exist among squamate reptiles. They can therefore serve as an important model for studies of evolutionary transitions among particular sex determination systems. However, we still have only a limited knowledge of sex determination in certain important lineages of squamates. In this respect, one of the most understudied groups is the family Helodermatidae (Anguimorpha) encompassing the only two venomous species of lizards which are potentially lethal to human beings. We uncovered homomorphic ZZ/ZW sex chromosomes in the Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) with a highly heterochromatic W chromosome. The sex chromosomes are morphologically similar to the ZZ/ZW sex chromosomes of monitor lizards (Varanidae). If the sex chromosomes of helodermatids and varanids are homologous, female heterogamety may be ancestral for the whole Anguimorpha group. Moreover, we found that the karyotype of the Gila monster consists of 2n = 36 chromosomes (14 larger metacentric chromosomes and 22 acrocentric microchromosomes). 2n = 36 is the widely distributed chromosomal number among squamates. In his pioneering works representing the only previous cytogenetic examination of the family Helodermatidae, Matthey reported the karyotype as 2n = 38 and suggested a different chromosomal morphology for this species. We believe that this was probably erroneously. We also discovered a strong accumulation of telomeric sequences on several pairs of microchromosomes in the Gila monster, which is a trait documented relatively rarely in vertebrates. These new data fill an important gap in our understanding of the sex determination and karyotype evolution of squamates.

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<![CDATA[Recurrent Microdeletions at Xq27.3-Xq28 and Male Infertility: A Study in the Czech Population]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab3ab0ee8fa60bac144

Background

Genetic causes of male infertility are hypothesized to involve multiple types of mutations, from single gene defects to complex chromosome rearrangements. Recently, several recurrent X-chromosome microdeletions (located in subtelomeric region of the long arm) were reported to be associated with male infertility in Spanish and Italian males. The aim of our study was to test their prevalence and infertility association in population of men from the Czech Republic.

Methods

107 males with pathological sperm evaluation resulting in nonobstructive infertility were compared to 131 males with normal fecundity. X-chromosome microdeletions were assessed by +/- PCR with three primer pairs for each region Xcnv64 (Xq27.3), Xcnv67 (Xq28) and Xcnv69 (Xq28). The latter microdeletion was further characterized by amplification across the deleted region, dividing the deletion into three types; A, B and C.

Results

We detected presence of isolated Xcnv64 deletion in 3 patients and 14 controls, and Xcnv69 in 3 patients and 6 controls (1 and 1 patient vs.4 and 1 control for types A and B respectively). There was one control with combined Xcnv64 and Xcnv69 type B deletions, and one patient with combination of Xcnv64 and Xcnv69 type C deletions. The frequency of the deletions was thus not higher in patient compared to control group, Xcnv64 was marginally associated with controls (adjusted Fisher´s exact test P = 0.043), Xcnv69 was not associated (P = 0.452). We excluded presence of more extensive rearrangements in two subjects with combined Xcnv64 and Xcnv69 deletions. There was no Xcnv67 deletion in our cohort.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the two previously reported X-linked microdeletions (Xcnv64 and Xcnv69) do not seem to confer a significant risk to impaired spermatogenesis in the Czech population. The potential clinical role of the previously reported patient-specific Xcnv67 remains to be determined in a larger study population.

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<![CDATA[High-Resolution Mapping of Crossover and Non-crossover Recombination Events by Whole-Genome Re-sequencing of an Avian Pedigree]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db31ab0ee8fa60bd20ad

Recombination is an engine of genetic diversity and therefore constitutes a key process in evolutionary biology and genetics. While the outcome of crossover recombination can readily be detected as shuffled alleles by following the inheritance of markers in pedigreed families, the more precise location of both crossover and non-crossover recombination events has been difficult to pinpoint. As a consequence, we lack a detailed portrait of the recombination landscape for most organisms and knowledge on how this landscape impacts on sequence evolution at a local scale. To localize recombination events with high resolution in an avian system, we performed whole-genome re-sequencing at high coverage of a complete three-generation collared flycatcher pedigree. We identified 325 crossovers at a median resolution of 1.4 kb, with 86% of the events localized to <10 kb intervals. Observed crossover rates were in excellent agreement with data from linkage mapping, were 52% higher in male (3.56 cM/Mb) than in female meiosis (2.28 cM/Mb), and increased towards chromosome ends in male but not female meiosis. Crossover events were non-randomly distributed in the genome with several distinct hot-spots and a concentration to genic regions, with the highest density in promoters and CpG islands. We further identified 267 non-crossovers, whose location was significantly associated with crossover locations. We detected a significant transmission bias (0.18) in favour of ‘strong’ (G, C) over ‘weak’ (A, T) alleles at non-crossover events, providing direct evidence for the process of GC-biased gene conversion in an avian system. The approach taken in this study should be applicable to any species and would thereby help to provide a more comprehensive portray of the recombination landscape across organism groups.

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<![CDATA[Genetic prediction of male pattern baldness]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdce09

Male pattern baldness can have substantial psychosocial effects, and it has been phenotypically linked to adverse health outcomes such as prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. We explored the genetic architecture of the trait using data from over 52,000 male participants of UK Biobank, aged 40–69 years. We identified over 250 independent genetic loci associated with severe hair loss (P<5x10-8). By splitting the cohort into a discovery sample of 40,000 and target sample of 12,000, we developed a prediction algorithm based entirely on common genetic variants that discriminated (AUC = 0.78, sensitivity = 0.74, specificity = 0.69, PPV = 59%, NPV = 82%) those with no hair loss from those with severe hair loss. The results of this study might help identify those at greatest risk of hair loss, and also potential genetic targets for intervention.

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<![CDATA[Live Cell Imaging of the Nascent Inactive X Chromosome during the Early Differentiation Process of Naive ES Cells towards Epiblast Stem Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da69ab0ee8fa60b92915

Random X-chromosome inactivation ensures dosage compensation in mammals through the transcriptional silencing of one of the two X chromosomes present in each female cell. Silencing is initiated in the differentiating epiblast of the mouse female embryos through coating of the nascent inactive X chromosome by the non-coding RNA Xist, which subsequently recruits the Polycomb Complex PRC2 leading to histone H3-K27 methylation. Here we examined in mouse ES cells the early steps of the transition from naive ES cells towards epiblast stem cells as a model for inducing X chromosome inactivation in vitro. We show that these conditions efficiently induce random XCI. Importantly, in a transient phase of this differentiation pathway, both X chromosomes are coated with Xist RNA in up to 15% of the XX cells. In an attempt to determine the dynamics of this process, we designed a strategy aimed at visualizing the nascent inactive X-chromosome in live cells. We generated transgenic female XX ES cells expressing the PRC2 component Ezh2 fused to the fluorescent protein Venus. The fluorescent fusion protein was expressed at sub-physiological levels and located in nuclei of ES cells. Upon differentiation of ES cell towards epiblast stem cell fate, Venus-fluorescent territories appearing in interphase nuclei were identified as nascent inactive X chromosomes by their association with Xist RNA. Imaging of Ezh2-Venus for up to 24 hours during the differentiation process showed survival of some cells with two fluorescent domains and a surprising dynamics of the fluorescent territories across cell division and in the course of the differentiation process. Our data reveal a strategy for visualizing the nascent inactive X chromosome and suggests the possibility for a large plasticity of the nascent inactive X chromosome.

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<![CDATA[Phylogeography of Y-chromosome haplogroup O3a2b2-N6 reveals patrilineal traces of Austronesian populations on the eastern coastal regions of Asia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc3d3

Austronesian diffusion is considered one of the greatest dispersals in human history; it led to the peopling of an extremely vast region, ranging from Madagascar in the Indian Ocean to Easter Island in Remote Oceania. The Y-chromosome haplogroup O3a2b*-P164(xM134), a predominant paternal lineage of Austronesian populations, is found at high frequencies in Polynesian populations. However, the internal phylogeny of this haplogroup remains poorly investigated. In this study, we analyzed -seventeen Y-chromosome sequences of haplogroup O3a2b*-P164(xM134) and generated a revised phylogenetic tree of this lineage based on 310 non-private Y-chromosome polymorphisms. We discovered that all available O3a2b*-P164(xM134) samples belong to the newly defined haplogroup O3a2b2-N6 and samples from Austronesian populations belong to the sublineage O3a2b2a2-F706. Additionally, we genotyped a series of Y-chromosome polymorphisms in a large collection of samples from China. We confirmed that the sublineage O3a2b2a2b-B451 is unique to Austronesian populations. We found that O3a2b2-N6 samples are widely distributed on the eastern coastal regions of Asia, from Korea to Vietnam. Furthermore, we propose- that the O3a2b2a2b-B451 lineage represents a genetic connection between ancestors of Austronesian populations and ancient populations in North China, where foxtail millet was domesticated about 11,000 years ago. The large number of newly defined Y-chromosome polymorphisms and the revised phylogenetic tree of O3a2b2-N6 will be helpful to explore the origin of proto-Austronesians and the early diffusion process of Austronesian populations.

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<![CDATA[Human Lung Tissue Transcriptome: Influence of Sex and Age]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f4ab0ee8fa60b6fb39

Background

Sex and age strongly influence the pathophysiology of human lungs, but scarce information is available about their effects on pulmonary gene expression.

Methods

We followed a discovery-validation strategy to identify sex- and age-related transcriptional differences in lung.

Results

We identified transcriptional profiles significantly associated with sex (215 genes; FDR < 0.05) and age at surgery (217 genes) in non-involved lung tissue resected from 284 lung adenocarcinoma patients. When these profiles were tested in three independent series of non-tumor lung tissue from an additional 1,111 patients, we validated the association with sex and age for 25 and 22 genes, respectively. Among the 17 sex-biased genes mapping on chromosome X, 16 have been reported to escape X-chromosome inactivation in other tissues or cells, suggesting that this mechanism influences lung transcription too. Our 22 age-related genes partially overlap with genes modulated by age in other tissues, suggesting that the aging process has similar consequences on gene expression in different organs. Finally, seven genes whose expression was modulated by sex in non-tumor lung tissue, but no age-related gene, were also validated using publicly available data from 990 lung adenocarcinoma samples, suggesting that the physiological regulatory mechanisms are only partially active in neoplastic tissue.

Conclusions

Gene expression in non-tumor lung tissue is modulated by both sex and age. These findings represent a validated starting point for research on the molecular mechanisms underlying the observed differences in the course of lung diseases among men and women of different ages.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of Histone Modifications Associated with Inactive X-Chromosome in Trophoblast Stem Cells, eXtra-Embryonic Endoderm Cells and in In Vitro Derived Undifferentiated and Differentiated Epiblast Like Stem Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daceab0ee8fa60bb5691

In mouse, X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) can either be imprinted or random. Imprinted XCI (iXCI) is considered unstable and depending on continuous Xist expression, whereas random XCI (rXCI) is stably maintained even in the absence of Xist. Here we have systematically examined epigenetic modifications associated with the inactive X-chromosome (Xi) in Trophoblast Stem cells, eXtra-Embryonic Endoderm Cells, undifferentiated and differentiated Epiblast Like Stem Cells in order to understand intrinsic differences in epigenetic mechanisms involved in silencing of the inactive X-chromosome in lineages presenting iXCI and rXCI. Whereas euchromatic histone modifications are predominantly lost from the Xi territory in all cell types, the accumulation of heterochromatic modifications diverges in between the analysed cell lineages. Particularly, only the Xi of multipotent Trophoblast (iXCI) and Epiblast stem cells (rXCI) display a visible accumulation of Polycomb Repressive Complexes (PRCs), in contrast to the Xi in differentiated Epiblast Like Stem Cells and eXtra-embryonic Endoderm cells. Despite this, the histone modifications catalysed by PRCs, ubH2AK119 and H3K27me3, remain the best heterochromatic markers for the Xi in all assessed lineages. Heterochromatic chromatin modifications associated with the Xi are a reflection of the epigenetic landscape of the entire genome of the assessed cell regardless whether XCI is imprinted or random.

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<![CDATA[Genomic Organization of Repetitive DNA in Woodpeckers (Aves, Piciformes): Implications for Karyotype and ZW Sex Chromosome Differentiation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da08ab0ee8fa60b76736

Birds are characterized by a low proportion of repetitive DNA in their genome when compared to other vertebrates. Among birds, species belonging to Piciformes order, such as woodpeckers, show a relatively higher amount of these sequences. The aim of this study was to analyze the distribution of different classes of repetitive DNA—including microsatellites, telomere sequences and 18S rDNA—in the karyotype of three Picidae species (Aves, Piciformes)—Colaptes melanochloros (2n = 84), Colaptes campestris (2n = 84) and Melanerpes candidus (2n = 64)–by means of fluorescence in situ hybridization. Clusters of 18S rDNA were found in one microchromosome pair in each of the three species, coinciding to a region of (CGG)10 sequence accumulation. Interstitial telomeric sequences were found in some macrochromosomes pairs, indicating possible regions of fusions, which can be related to variation of diploid number in the family. Only one, from the 11 different microsatellite sequences used, did not produce any signals. Both species of genus Colaptes showed a similar distribution of microsatellite sequences, with some difference when compared to M. candidus. Microsatellites were found preferentially in the centromeric and telomeric regions of micro and macrochromosomes. However, some sequences produced patterns of interstitial bands in the Z chromosome, which corresponds to the largest element of the karyotype in all three species. This was not observed in the W chromosome of Colaptes melanochloros, which is heterochromatic in most of its length, but was not hybridized by any of the sequences used. These results highlight the importance of microsatellite sequences in differentiation of sex chromosomes, and the accumulation of these sequences is probably responsible for the enlargement of the Z chromosome.

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<![CDATA[Improving the Positive Predictive Value of Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening (NIPS)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdbc61

We evaluated performance characteristics of a laboratory-developed, non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS) assay for fetal aneuploidies. This assay employs massively parallel shotgun sequencing with full automation. GC sequencing bias correction and statistical smoothing were performed to enhance discrimination of affected and unaffected pregnancies. Maternal plasma samples from pregnancies with known aneuploidy status were used for assay development, verification, and validation. Assay verification studies using 2,085 known samples (1873 unaffected, 69 trisomy 21, 20 trisomy 18, 17 trisomy 13) demonstrated complete discrimination between autosomal trisomy (Z scores >8) and unaffected (Z scores <4) singleton pregnancies. A validation study using 552 known samples (21 trisomy 21, 10 trisomy 18, 1 trisomy 13) confirmed complete discrimination. Twin pregnancies showed similar results. Follow-up of abnormal results from the first 10,000 clinical samples demonstrated PPVs of 98% (41/42) for trisomy 21, 92% (23/25) for trisomy 18, and 69% (9/13) for trisomy 13. Adjustment for causes of false-positive results identified during clinical testing (eg, maternal duplications) improved PPVs to 100% for trisomy 21 and 96% for trisomy 18. This NIPS test demonstrates excellent discrimination between trisomic and unaffected pregnancies. The PPVs obtained in initial clinical testing are substantially higher than previously reported NIPS methods.

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