DnaSP v5: a software for comprehensive analysis of DNA polymorphism data
DnaSP is a software package for a comprehensive analysis of DNA polymorphism data. Version 5 implements a number of new features and analytical methods allowing extensive DNA polymorphism analyses on large datasets. Among other features, the newly implemented methods allow for: (i) analyses on multiple data files; (ii) haplotype phasing; (iii) analyses on insertion/deletion polymorphism data; (iv) visualizing sliding window results integrated with available genome annotations in the UCSC browser.
Hybridization of denatured RNA and small DNA fragments transferred to nitrocellulose
A simple and rapid method for transferring RNA from agarose gels to nitrocellulose paper for blot hybridization has been developed. Poly(A)+ and ribosomal RNAs transfer efficiently to nitrocellulose paper in high salt (3 M NaCl/0.3 M trisodium citrate) after denaturation with glyoxal and 50% (vol/vol) dimethyl sulfoxide. RNA also binds to nitrocellulose after treatment with methylmercuric hydroxide. The method is sensitive: about 50 pg of specific mRNA per band is readily detectable after hybridization with high specific activity probes (10(8) cpm/microgram). The RNA is stably bound to the nitrocellulose paper by this procedure, allowing removal of the hybridized probes and rehybridization of the RNA blots without loss of sensitivity.
The use of nitrocellulose paper for the analysis of RNA by blot hybridization has several advantages over the use of activated paper (diazobenzyloxymethyl-paper). The method is simple, inexpensive, reproducible, and sensitive. In addition, denaturation of DNA with glyoxal and dimethyl sulfoxide promotes transfer and retention of small DNAs (100 nucleotides and larger) to nitrocellulose paper. A related method is also described for dotting RNA and DNA directly onto nitrocellulose paper treated with a high concentration of salt; under these conditions denatured DNA of less than 200 nucleotides is retained and hybridizes efficiently.
Statistical method for testing the neutral mutation hypothesis by DNA polymorphism
The relationship between the two estimates of genetic variation at the DNA level, namely the number of segregating sites and the average number of nucleotide differences estimated from pairwise comparison, is investigated. It is found that the correlation between these two estimates is large when the sample size is small, and decreases slowly as the sample size increases. Using the relationship obtained, a statistical method for testing the neutral mutation hypothesis is developed.
This method needs only the data of DNA polymorphism, namely the genetic variation within population at the DNA level. A simple method of computer simulation, that was used in order to obtain the distribution of a new statistic developed, is also presented. Applying this statistical method to the five regions of DNA sequences in Drosophila melanogaster, it is found that large insertion/deletion (greater than 100 bp) is deleterious. It is suggested that the natural selection against large insertion/deletion is so weak that a large amount of variation is maintained in a population.
BEAST: Bayesian evolutionary analysis by sampling trees
The evolutionary analysis of molecular sequence variation is a statistical enterprise. This is reflected in the increased use of probabilistic models for phylogenetic inference, multiple sequence alignment, and molecular population genetics. Here we present BEAST: a fast, flexible software architecture for Bayesian analysis of molecular sequences related by an evolutionary tree. A large number of popular stochastic models of sequence evolution are provided and tree-based models suitable for both within- and between-species sequence data are implemented.
BEAST version 1.4.6 consists of 81000 lines of Java source code, 779 classes and 81 packages. It provides models for DNA and protein sequence evolution, highly parametric coalescent analysis, relaxed clock phylogenetics, non-contemporaneous sequence data, statistical alignment and a wide range of options for prior distributions. BEAST source code is object-oriented, modular in design and freely available at http://beast-mcmc.googlecode.com/ under the GNU LGPL license.
BEAST is a powerful and flexible evolutionary analysis package for molecular sequence variation. It also provides a resource for the further development of new models and statistical methods of evolutionary analysis
Multiplex genome engineering using CRISPR/Cas systems
Functional elucidation of causal genetic variants and elements requires precise genome editing technologies. The type II prokaryotic CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)/Cas adaptive immune system has been shown to facilitate RNA-guided site-specific DNA cleavage.
We engineered two different type II CRISPR/Cas systems and demonstrate that Cas9 nucleases can be directed by short RNAs to induce precise cleavage at endogenous genomic loci in human and mouse cells. Cas9 can also be converted into a nicking enzyme to facilitate homology-directed repair with minimal mutagenic activity. Lastly, multiple guide sequences can be encoded into a single CRISPR array to enable simultaneous editing of several sites within the mammalian genome, demonstrating easy programmability and wide applicability of the RNA-guided nuclease technology.
MEGA3: Integrated software for Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis and sequence alignment
With its theoretical basis firmly established in molecular evolutionary and population genetics, the comparative DNA and protein sequence analysis plays a central role in reconstructing the evolutionary histories of species and multigene families, estimating rates of molecular evolution, and inferring the nature and extent of selective forces shaping the evolution of genes and genomes.
The scope of these investigations has now expanded greatly owing to the development of high-throughput sequencing techniques and novel statistical and computational methods. These methods require easy-to-use computer programs. One such effort has been to produce Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) software, with its focus on facilitating the exploration and analysis of the DNA and protein sequence variation from an evolutionary perspective.
Currently in its third major release, MEGA3 contains facilities for automatic and manual sequence alignment, web-based mining of databases, inference of the phylogenetic trees, estimation of evolutionary distances and testing evolutionary hypotheses. This paper provides an overview of the statistical methods, computational tools, and visual exploration modules for data input and the results obtainable in MEGA.