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Segura J.,Institute Of Biotecnologia I Biomedicina Ibb | Ferretti L.,Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics UAB UB | Ramos-Onsins S.,Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics UAB UB | Capilla L.,Institute Of Biotecnologia I Biomedicina Ibb | And 9 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2013

Recombination allows faithful chromosomal segregation during meiosis and contributes to the production of new heritable allelic variants that are essential for the maintenance of genetic diversity. Therefore, an appreciation of how this variation is created and maintained is of critical importance to our understanding of biodiversity and evolutionary change. Here, we analysed the recombination features from species representing the major eutherian taxonomic groups Afrotheria, Rodentia, Primates and Carnivora to better understand the dynamics of mammalian recombination. Our results suggest a phylogenetic component in recombination rates (RRs), which appears to be directional, strongly punctuated and subject to selection. Species that diversified earlier in the evolutionary tree have lower RRs than those from more derived phylogenetic branches. Furthermore, chromosome-specific recombination maps in distantly related taxa show that crossover interference is especially weak in the species with highest RRs detected thus far, the tiger. This is the first example of a mammalian species exhibiting such low levels of crossover interference, highlighting the uniqueness of this species and its relevance for the study of the mechanisms controlling crossover formation, distribution and resolution. © 2013 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Hernando-Herraez I.,Institute of Evolutionary Biology UPF CSIC | Heyn H.,Lhospitalet Of Llobregat | Vidal E.,Lhospitalet Of Llobregat | Fernandez-Bellon H.,Zoologic | And 6 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2015

Despite the increasing knowledge about DNA methylation, the understanding of human epigenome evolution is in its infancy. Using whole genome bisulfite sequencing we identified hundreds of differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in humans compared to non-human primates and estimated that 25% of these regions were detectable throughout several human tissues. Human DMRs were enriched for specific histone modifications and the majority were located distal to transcription start sites, highlighting the importance of regions outside the direct regulatory context. We also found a significant excess of endogenous retrovirus elements in human-specific hypomethylated. We reported for the first time a close interplay between inter-species genetic and epigenetic variation in regions of incomplete lineage sorting, transcription factor binding sites and human differentially hypermethylated regions. Specifically, we observed an excess of human-specific substitutions in transcription factor binding sites located within human DMRs, suggesting that alteration of regulatory motifs underlies some human-specific methylation patterns. We also found that the acquisition of DNA hypermethylation in the human lineage is frequently coupled with a rapid evolution at nucleotide level in the neighborhood of these CpG sites. Taken together, our results reveal new insights into the mechanistic basis of human-specific DNA methylation patterns and the interpretation of inter-species non-coding variation. © The Author(s) 2015.

PubMed | University Pompeu Fabra, Copenhagen Zoo, Biomedical Primate Research Center, Center for Genomic Regulation and Zoologic
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

microRNAs are crucial post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression involved in a wide range of biological processes. Although microRNAs are highly conserved among species, the functional implications of existing lineage-specific changes and their role in determining differences between humans and other great apes have not been specifically addressed. We analyzed the recent evolutionary history of 1,595 human microRNAs by looking at their intra- and inter-species variation in great apes using high-coverage sequenced genomes of 82 individuals including gorillas, orangutans, bonobos, chimpanzees and humans. We explored the strength of purifying selection among microRNA regions and found that the seed and mature regions are under similar and stronger constraint than the precursor region. We further constructed a comprehensive catalogue of microRNA species-specific nucleotide substitutions among great apes and, for the first time, investigated the biological relevance that human-specific changes in microRNAs may have had in great ape evolution. Expression and functional analyses of four microRNAs (miR-299-3p, miR-503-3p, miR-508-3p and miR-541-3p) revealed that lineage-specific nucleotide substitutions and changes in the length of these microRNAs alter their expression as well as the repertoires of target genes and regulatory networks. We suggest that the studied molecular changes could have modified crucial microRNA functions shaping phenotypes that, ultimately, became human-specific. Our work provides a frame to study the impact that regulatory changes may have in the recent evolution of our species.

Cherlin V.A.,Zoologic | Shepilov S.A.,Zoologic
Zoologicheskii Zhurnal | Year: 2014

Ecological observations of Macrovipera lebetina turanica from Central Asia are presented. Environmental temperature conditions, spatial-temporal activity of these snakes, and their thermobiological characters were studied. The temperature range of the total M. l. turanica activity was 17-34°, the thermal stabilization temperature range was approximately 26-31°. Night temperatures rose from 9-15° in spring up to 18-23° in summer, the daily fluctuations in body temperature were from 18-22 in spring to 10-15° in summer. The foraging and digestion can be successful as the fluctuations of daily body temperature do not exceed 25°. The daily light phase duration increased from 3-6 h (in spring) to 14 h (in summer). This fact and the great fluctuations (18-22°) of daily body temperature promoted the sexual activity and coupling. Then, the body temperature fluctuations decreased to 13-18° promoting the successful recovery period in males and pregnancy in females. The curves for daily body temperature in these snakes during different seasons are given. The thermobiological characters in M. lebetina černovi did not differ from those of M. l. turanica.

Martinez-Silvestre A.,Catalonia Reptile and Amphibian Rehabilitation Center | Amat F.,Area dHerpetologia | Bargallo F.,Zoologic | Carranza S.,Institute of Evolutionary Biology CSIC UPF
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2011

We report the presence of pigmented skin tumors in three populations of the endangered amphibian Montseny brook newt, Calotriton arnoldi, one of the European amphibian species with the smallest distribution range (40 km2 in the Montseny Natural Park, Catalonia, Spain). Examination of one of the tumors by light microscopy was consistent with chromatophoroma and was most suggestive of a melanophoroma. Tumors were not found in juveniles. In adults, only two of three populations were affected. The proportions of males and females affected were not significantly different, but there was a positive correlation between body size and presence of tumors in both sexes. The etiology of chromatophoromas remains unknown but, in our study, they do not appear to have been caused by water quality or Ultraviolet B. © Wildlife Disease Association 2011.

Costa T.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Grifols J.,Zoologic | Perpinan D.,Zoologic
Journal of Comparative Pathology | Year: 2013

Lipid pneumonia is an unusual, non-infectious, inflammatory lung disease characterized by patchy pneumonic consolidation secondary to accumulation of lipid in macrophages. It can be classified as exogenous or endogenous, depending on whether it is associated with the aspiration of foreign material. Endogenous lipid pneumonia (EnLP) has been reported in many mammal species. In pet birds, EnLP is an incidental and uncommon lesion of unknown pathogenesis. A 35-year-old African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus erithacus) was presented for depression lasting several months, with marked worsening over the 2 days prior to presentation. The animal died shortly after admission. Necropsy examination showed that the lungs were firm with diffuse grey discolouration. Microscopically, there was EnLP, anthracosis, severe atherosclerosis and hepatic amyloidosis. Although the pathogenesis of EnLP in birds is not clear, it has been associated with concurrent atherosclerosis, hepatic diseases and other lesions of the respiratory tract. This is the first description of EnLP in a bird associated with severe respiratory distress. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Abaigar T.,CSIC - Estación Experimental De Zonas Áridas | Cano M.,CSIC - Estación Experimental De Zonas Áridas | Ensenyat C.,Zoologic
Journal of Arid Environments | Year: 2013

In March 2009, 23 dorcas gazelles (9 males and 14 females) were reintroduced in the Katané enclosure, a 440ha fenced-in area in the North Ferlo Fauna Reserve (Senegal). In the enclosure, the dorcas gazelle live with other reintroduced (the mohor gazelles and the scimitar-horned oryx) and native ungulate species (the Red-fronted gazelle), as well other native mammals. Seven habitat types were characterized in the enclosure. Habitat preference of dorcas gazelles was studied using presence and abundance of gazelle signs (tracks, latrines, fecal deposits) and direct observations. Seasonal data were collected along a 6-km long transect in the enclosure. The presence of dorcas gazelles is significantly dependent on the type of habitat in the Katané enclosure and they prefer open habitats (plateaus) to habitats with less visibility. This preference did not change according to season and the number of fecal deposits increased with proximity to the fence. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

PubMed | Zoologic and Autonomous University of Barcelona
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Avian pathology : journal of the W.V.P.A | Year: 2016

We report the presence of the avian piroplasm Babesia shortti in a common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) admitted in a wildlife recovery centre in Catalonia, Spain. The bird, which was in a very poor condition and had respiratory distress, was anaemic (packed cell volume of 22%). The animal died within days. No postmortem examination was performed, but the extremely high parasitaemia of almost 45% and the anaemia might have caused death.

Computed tomography (CT) and low-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were used to scan seven by-caught dolphin cadavers, belonging to two species: four common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and three striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba). CT and MRI were obtained with the animals in ventral recumbency. After the imaging procedures, six dolphins were frozen at -20C and sliced in the same position they were examined. Not only CT and MRI scans, but also cross sections of the heads were obtained in three body planes: transverse (slices of 1cm thickness) in three dolphins, sagittal (5cm thickness) in two dolphins and dorsal (5cm thickness) in two dolphins. Relevant anatomical structures were identified and labelled on each cross section, obtaining a comprehensive bi-dimensional topographical anatomy guide of the main features of the common and the striped dolphin head. Furthermore, the anatomical cross sections were compared with their corresponding CT and MRI images, allowing an imaging identification of most of the anatomical features. CT scans produced an excellent definition of the bony and air-filled structures, while MRI allowed us to successfully identify most of the soft tissue structures in the dolphins head. This paper provides a detailed anatomical description of the head structures of common and striped dolphins and compares anatomical cross sections with CT and MRI scans, becoming a reference guide for the interpretation of imaging studies.

PubMed | Catalonian Reptile and Amphibian Rescue Center and Zoologic
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The veterinary clinics of North America. Exotic animal practice | Year: 2015

Cloacoscopy and cystoscopy are simple, noninvasive to minimally invasive techniques that provide excellent visualization, and result in fast recovery. General or intrathecal anesthesia is sufficient. They can be performed in free-ranging turtles under field conditions. Cloacoscopic gender identification of external genitalia is not reliable because of the high degree of misinterpretation between phallus and clitoris, especially in juveniles. However, saline-infusion or air insufflation cystoscopy through the urinary bladder (or accessory vesicles/bladders) is often effective for the visualization of gonads and to identify the sex. Visualization of gonads is feasible through the urinary bladder or accessory vesicle wall in many species.

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