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The domestication of livestock represented a crucial step in human history. By using endogenous retroviruses as genetic markers, we found that sheep differentiated on the basis of their "retrotype" and morphological traits dispersed across Eurasia and Africa via separate migratory episodes. Relicts of the first migrations include the Mouflon, as well as(More)
Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are remnants of ancient retroviral infections of the host germline transmitted vertically from generation to generation. It is hypothesized that some ERVs are used by the host as restriction factors to block the infection of pathogenic retroviruses. Indeed, some ERVs efficiently interfere with the replication of related(More)
BACKGROUND The deleterious effect of a mutation can be reverted by a second-site interacting residue. This is an epistatic compensatory process explaining why mutations that are deleterious in some species are tolerated in phylogenetically related lineages, rendering evident that those mutations are, by all means, only deleterious in the species-specific(More)
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) deletions are a primary cause of mitochondrial disease and are believed to contribute to the aging process and to various neurodegenerative diseases. Despite strong observational and experimental evidence, the molecular basis of the deletion process remains obscure. In this study, we test the hypothesis that the primary cause of(More)
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) deletions cause disease and accumulate during aging, yet our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying their formation remains rudimentary. Guanine-quadruplex (GQ) DNA structures are associated with nuclear DNA instability in cancer; recent evidence indicates they can also form in mitochondrial nucleic acids, suggesting(More)
The pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, is one of the greatest threats to coniferous forests worldwide, causing severe ecological damage and economic loss. The biology of B. xylophilus is similar to that of its closest relative, B. mucronatus, as both species share food resources and insect vectors, and have very similar morphological(More)
The quest for a universal and efficient method of identifying species has been a longstanding challenge in biology. Here, we show that accurate identification of species in all domains of life can be accomplished by multiplex analysis of variable-length sequences containing multiple insertion/deletion variants. The new method, called SPInDel, is able to(More)
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) rearrangements are key events in the development of many diseases. Investigations of mtDNA regions affected by rearrangements (i.e. breakpoints) can lead to important discoveries about rearrangement mechanisms and can offer important clues about the causes of mitochondrial diseases. Here, we present the mitochondrial DNA(More)
BACKGROUND The picture of dog mtDNA diversity, as obtained from geographically wide samplings but from a small number of individuals per region or breed, has revealed weak geographic correlation and high degree of haplotype sharing between very distant breeds. We aimed at a more detailed picture through extensive sampling (n = 143) of four Portuguese(More)
In recent years, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) typing has become established as a powerful tool for forensic investigations. The sequencing of mtDNA is now a standard laboratory procedure for the examination of degraded casework samples of human origin, with unique advantages over nuclear DNA profiling systems. Nonetheless, the use of mtDNA in non-human(More)