• Volume 23, Issue 5

      December 1998,   pages  533-652

    • New developments on an ancient front: pre-Cambrian evolution of animal life

      J Manjrekar

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    • Red ants with green beards

      Raghavendra Gadagkar

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    • To b(gl) or not to b(gl): how cryptic are “cryptic” genes?

      S Mahadevan

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    • Transgene silencing: New insights into an old puzzle

      Tirumalai R Raghunand

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    • When three is not a crowd

      Usha Vuayraghavan

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    • Decisions, premonitions and hunches: Is there any rationality?

      Nevil John Singh

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    • Biological rhythms research: A personal account

      M K Chandrashekaran

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    • Cloning of ribosomal RNA genes from an Indian isolate ofGiardia lamblia and the use of intergenic nontranscribing spacer regions in the differentiation ofGiardia from other enteric pathogens

      A K Sil P Das S Bhattacharyya S Ghosh D J Chattopadyay

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      The ribosomal RNA genes from an Indian isolate ofGiardia lamblia have been cloned and characterized with respect to size, composition and copy number. Southern blotting and rDNA cloning ofGiardia lamblia revealed that genes coding for ribosomal RNA (rRNA) are exceptionally small and are encoded within a 5.6 kb genome fragment repeat. The rDNA repeat unit of this isolate was found to be highly G-C rich like other human isolates and the physical map showed severalSmaI sites. There are 132 copies of the rDNA repeat unit per cell in a head to tail arrangement. Two fragments corresponding to intergenic (0.2 kb and 0.3 kb) region and one (0.8 kb) containing both an intergenic region and a small part of the small subunit ribosomal RNA (SS rRNA) have been identified within the rDNA. These were used in heterogeneity studies ofGiardia isolated from two geographic locations as well as in the analysis of cross reactivity with other enteric organisms. In Southern blots, all the three fragments were found to be highly specific for the differential diagnosis ofGiardia spp. from the other enteric pathogens. These findings should help in developing a sensitive and more specific method for the diagnosis of giardiasis over currently available techniques.

    • Construction, electroporatic transfer and expression of ZpβypGH and ZpβrtGH in zebrafish

      S G Sheela J D Chen S Mathavan T J Pandian

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      Recombinant transformation vectors (ZPβypGH and ZpβrtGH) consisting of fish growth hormone cDNA, and a reporter geneβ-galactosidase driven by fish promoter (Zp) were constructed. Freshly fertilized eggs of zebrafish (Brachydanio rerio) were electroporated at optimum conditions (0.07 kV voltage; 25 μF capacitance; 8 ohm resistance and 2 pulses) in the presence of one of these transformation vectors (100 μg circular DNNml). In either cases 72% of the electroporated eggs successfully hatched, in comparison to the 85% hatchability of the control eggs. Genomic DNA extracted from fins of randomly chosenF0 individuals was screened (by Southern blot hybridization); the transgenes were retained in the host genome of all the randomly chosen adult transformants. Fin-positive presumptive founder parents were crossed with control counterparts and the DNA of randomly chosenF1 progenies was screened for germline transformation. Southern analysis of chosenF1 progenies revealed the persistence of ZPβypGH or ZpβrtGH in 53% of theF1 progenies. Southern analyses of chosenF1 progenies and the frequency (53% ofF1 ZpβrtGH and 53% ofF1 ZP{β}ypGH) of transmission revealed the degree of mosaicism inF0 transformants. Expression was confirmed from the 3–4 times elevated levels of activity of the reporter gene and 30–40% accelerated growth of transgenicF0 andF1 progenies.

    • Recombinant expression of human transforming growth factor-β isoforms in Chinese hamster ovary cells

      B Ramani Paturu Kondaiah

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      Transforming growth factor-βs (TGF-βs) are multi functional growth modulators implicated in several physiological processes which include embryogenesis, inflammation, immune-suppression, wound healing, carcinogenesis and cellular differentiation. For clinical use, recombinant expression of TGF-βs is the only practical source because of very low yields from natural sources. Here, we report the recombinant expression of human TGF-βl and TGF-β2 in a mammalian expression system using a high expression eukaryotic vector driven by a cytomegalovirus promoter. Expression levels are as high as 0.97 μg/ml of TGF-βl and 0.24 μg/ml of TGF-β2 in conditioned media, sufficient for purification without the need for amplification of the gene using methotrexate.

    • Evaluation of marking and tagging methods for genetic studies in carp

      Y Basavaraju B S Renuka Devi G Mukhatyakka L Purushotham Reddy G C Mair E E Roderick D J Penman

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      A variety of marking and tagging methods were tested on common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) with the aim of identifying suitable methods for genetic studies in this and other species of carp. Elastomer and Alcian blue dye marking; Cold and Silver nitrate branding; Floy, Fingerling, Carlin disc and visible implant tags; and fin clipping were all tested on a range of sizes of common carp (from mean weights of 10–25 g up to 600–800 g). The branding and tagging methods tested did not give satisfactory retention rates. A combination of elastomer marking and fin clipping was then tested as a method for strain identification in a growth comparison trial on catla (Catla catla Hamilton) and found to be satisfactory for this purpose. Passive integrated transponders (PIT) tags were used to individually identify catla of wild or hatchery origin being grown for use as broodstock. These had almost 100% (98.8%) retention rates, but are expensive compared to most other tagging methods.

    • Mutagenesis by ethidium bromide and N-methyl-N′-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine in off-flavour compound producing strains ofStreptomyces

      Ismail Saadoun Ahmad Elbetieha Willard T Blevins

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      Various species of actinomycetes and cyanobacteria can impart earthy/musty off-flavours to drinking water supplies and to pond-raised fish and other aquatic food animals. The genetic determinants for production of the most common off-flavour compounds [geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol (MIB)] have not been extensively studied. An attempt has been rrlade to study the genetics of production of these compounds was demonstrated by DNA-curing analysis. The effects of two curing agents [ethidium bromide (EB) and N-methyl-N′-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (NTG)] on tha loss of linear plasmid DNA and generation of bald mutants (no aerial mycelia) inStreptomyces halstedii andStereptomyces violaceusniger which produce geosmin and MIB, respectively, were observed. Production of earthy/musty odour was not eliminated, but was reduced by 55–95% in the plasmid cured strain. Data suggested that off-flavour production is likely chromosomally-encoded in theseStreptomyces isolates.

    • Frequency and potential application of HLA antibodies from pregnant women in Mumbai

      U Shankarkumar S C Gupte S S Gupte S V Pednkar K Ghosh D Mohanty

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      Antenatal sera from 1334 pregnant women attending the Nowrojee B J Wadia Maternity Hospital and KEM Hospital in Parel, Mumbai were collected and screened for anti HLA A and B antibodies to produce an indigenous HLA tissue typing tray. One hundred and sixty three sera (12.2%) were found positive for HLA antibodies. Nonetheless, the percentage of positive sera were almost the same in women of different parity. Moreover, the incidence of anti-HLA antibodies was correlated with the allelic frequencies in the Maharastrian population. Thus in India, collection and screening of sera from pregnant females is a simple and cost-effective method of acquiring polyclonal sera for routine use in tissue typing.

    • Fatty acid binding proteins from developing human fetal brain: Characterization and binding properties

      Durba Mukhopadhyay Prabar K Ghosh Aparna Sen Manju Mukherjea

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      Two fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) of identicalMr, 13 kDa, have been isolated from developing human fetal brain. A delipidated 105,000 g supernatant was incubated with [1 -14C]oleate and subjected to a Sephacryl S-200 column followed by gel filtration chromatography on a Sephadex G-75 column and ion-exchange chromatography using a DEAE-Sephacel column. Purity was checked by UV spectroscopy, SDS-PAGE, isoelectric focusing and immunological cross-reactivity. The two FABPs designated as DE-I (pI 5.4) and DE-II (pI 6.9) showed cross-reactivity with each other and no alteration at the antigenic site during intrauterine development. Anti-human fetal brain FABP does not cross-react with purified human fetal heart, gut, lung or liver FABPs. The molecular mass of DE-I and DE-II is lower than those of fetal lung and liver FABPs. Like liver FABP, these proteins bind organic anions, fatty acids and acyl CoAs but differ in their binding affinities. Both DE-I and DE-II have been found to exhibit higher affinity for oleate (Kd = 0.23 μM) than palmitate (Kd = 0.9μM) or palmitoyl-CoA (Kd = 0.96 μM), with DE-I binding less fatty acids than DE-II. DE-II is more efficient in transferring fatty acid from phospholipid vesjcles than DE-I indicating that human fetal brain FABPs may play a significant role in fatty acid transport in developing fetal brain.

    • Use of negative staining technique and electron microscopy for the study of structural anomalies of outer dense fibres of human flagellum

      K Gopalkrishnan

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      Motility disorders due to tail defects are often seen in clinical andrology. Sperm motility should be assessed with regard to the morphology of the flagellum. Since suitable longitudinal sections are rarely obtained by routine transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and in view of the importance of dense fibres in modulating sperm motility and providing tensile strength, a detailed, study of human sperm flagellum by negative staining andTEM was attempted. The study was undertaken in two groups of men (I) fertile and (II) asthenozoospermic. The study revealed that outer dense fibres extend to 50–60% of the principal piece. Normal dense fibres were seen in 83% sperms and 23% sperms in groupsI andII respectively. The characteristics seen were variation in diameter, breakage or degradation with lacking or extended endpiece. The negative staining method provides an easy and useful analytical tool for identifying the defects of dense fibres and quantifying them.

    • Surface ultrastructure of the olfactory rosette of an air-breathing catfish,Heteropneustes fossilis (Bloch)

      Shovan K Bandhyopadhyay N C Datta

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      The surface architecture of the olfactory rosette ofHeteropneustes fossilis (Bloch) has been studied by scanning electron microscopy. The olfactory rosette is an oval structure composed of a number of lamellae arranged pinnately on a median raphe. The raphe is invested with epithelial cells and pits which represent goblet cell openings. On the basis of cellular characteristics and their distribution the lateral surface of each olfactory lamella is identified as sensory, ciliated non-sensory and non-ciliated non-sensory epithelium. The sensory epithelium is provided with receptor and supporting cells. The ciliated non-sensory epithelium is covered with dense cilia obscuring the presence of other cell types. The non-ciliated non-sensory epithelium is with many polygonal areas containing cells.

    • Snapping behaviour in intraspecific agonistic encounters in the snapping shrimp (Alpheus heterochaelis)

      Barbara Schmitz Jens Herberholz

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      During intraspecific agonistic encounters in snapping shrimp (Alpheus heterochaelis) the behaviour of the snapper, emitting a fast water jet by very rapid closure of the large modified snapper claw, and the receiver was analysed by single frame video analysis before, during, and after the snap. During snapping the opponents usually face each other. Snapping is most frequently preceded by touch of frontal appendages. The snapping animal keeps its snapper claw slightly across the midline, shielding frontal body parts, and its tailfan bent downwards. The mean claw cocking duration (generating muscle tension) before snapping amounts to about 500 ms. In 58% of the snaps, the snapper claw pointed at the opponent, its claws, densely covered with sensory hairs, representing the main target of the water jet. The mean distance for these directed snaps was 0.9 cm, while undirected snaps were emitted from larger distances of on average 3.4 cm. The snapper usually withdraws immediately after snapping, the receiver approaches. Initial snaps are often answered by return snaps and both are emitted from smaller distances and hit more often than subsequent snaps.

    • Impact of aggressive encounters on reproductive behaviour in the Indian desert gerbil,Meriones hurrianae (Jerdon)

      Sanjay V Sinhasane Bhaskar N Joshi

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      The gerbils were exposed to daily I min aggressive encounters for 30 days, to study the effect of social stress on reproduction. The encounters were induced by introduction of an adult male or female gerbil into the cage of a male retired breeder living in isolation. In the male gerbils the encounters decreased (P < 0.001) gonadal weight and sperm counts. The accessory sex organs responded variedly to the encounters. The surface areas of abdominal scent glands decreased (P < 0.001). The results suggest that exposure to aggressive encounters had a negative influence on male reproduction in the gerbil. Contrary to the results in male gerbils, encounters with males had a positive influence on reproduction in females. This was evidenced by data on ovarian and uterine weights, follicular kinetics and the estrous cycle. The ovarian and uterine weights increased (P < 0.001) in gerbils exposed to the encounters. The number of estruses increased (P < 0.001) whereas the diestruses decreased. Study of follicular kinetics revealed an increase in the number of growing follicles and a decrease in the number of regressive follicles. The mechanism(s) by which the encounters influence reproduction is not known. Adrenal gland weights increased (P < 0.001) in both male and female gerbils exposed to the encounters. The pinealocyte cell and nuclear diameters decreased (P < 0.01) in males and increased (P < 0.001) in female gerbils after the encounters. Presumably the adrenal and pineal glands may play an important role mediating the effects of the encounters.

    • High regenerative nature ofMentha arvensis internodes

      Ajit Kumar Shasany Suman P S Khanujia Sunita Dhawan Usha Yadav Srikant Sharma Sushil Kumar

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      Media and incubation conditions have been defined for highly efficient regeneration of shoots from internode explants of slow and fast growing cultivars ofMentha arvensis. Internodal segments excised from thein vitro raised shoots were inoculated on the MS medium supplemented with combinations of 5 concentrations of l-napthalene acetic acid (NAA) and 3 concentrations of 6-benzyl amino purine (BAP). The media containing 2 μg ml−1 NAA, 10 Μg ml−1 BAP and 1 μg ml−1 NAA, 5 μg ml−1 BAP proved best for shoot regeneration and growth responses on cv Himalaya and cv Kalka explants, respectively. In 12 weeks time, on average one explant of cv Himalaya produced about 200 shoots and that of cv Kalka produced about 180 shoots. The Himalaya explants required higher concentrations of NAA and BAP for high efficiency proliferation as compared to the Kalka explants. The experiments demonstrated that internodal tissue inMentha arvensis can be induced to obtain direct shoot regenerants with high efficiency. The analysis of the RAPD profiles of 100 regenerated plantlets each of cv Himalaya and Kalka showed more than 99.9% homogeneity in bands with respect to the parents.

    • A general model for sample size determination for collecting germplasm

      R L Sapra Prem Narain S V S Chauhan

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      The paper develops a general model for determining the minimum sample size for collecting germplasm for genetic conservation with an overall objective of retaining at least one copy of each allele with preassigned probability. It considers sampling from a large heterogeneous 2k-ploid population under a broad range of mating systems leading to a general formula applicable to a fairly large number of populations. It is found that the sample size decreases as ploidy levels increase, but increases with the increase in inbreeding. Under exclusive selfing the sample size is the same, irrespective of the ploidy level, when other parameters are held constant. Minimum sample sizes obtained for diploids by this general formula agree with those already reported by earlier workers. The model confirms the conservative characteristics of genetic variability of polysomic inheritance under chromosomal segregation.

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