Ecological genetics

Fundamental medical and biology peer-review journal publishes from 2003

Editor-in-Chief: professor Sergei G. Inge-Vechtomov 


Journal mission

The journal Ecological genetics is an international multi-disciplinary journal which accepts for consideration original manuscripts that clarify all aspects of interactions between genetic and ecological processes on any types of organisms and on all levels of living system organization, from molecular to ecosystem one.

The editorial board accepts manuscripts that reflect the results of field and experimental studies, and fundamental research of broad conceptual and/or comparative context.

We welcome the publication of materials that:

  • make a significant contribution to the development of general biological theory and methodology of ecological and genetic research;
  • contribute to a better understanding of genetic mechanisms of the regulation of intra– and inter–species interactions of organisms, as well as ‘organism–environment’ interactions;
  • contribute to a better understanding of modern issues in general biology.

Publications of the journal would be of interest to a wide range of specialists in the fields of ecology, genetics, biochemistry, general biology, evolutionary theory, as well as for physicians and teachers and students of various biological and medical profiles.

The official languages of the journal are English and Russian. The English version of the article appears on the website three months after the publication of the Russian version.


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Vol 18, No 3 (2020)

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Genetic basis of ecosystems evolution
Molecular aspects of basic innate immunity in Hordeum vulgare L.
Dobryakova K.S., Voitsekhovskaja O.

Basic innate immunity in plants is achieved via interactions between highly conserved pathogen-associated molecular structures and plant pattern recognition receptors, leading to elicitation of signaling cascades triggering molecular and cell defense mechanisms. At present, most of the components of basic innate immunity in barley have not been identified yet. Here, an overview of current knowledge on mechanisms underlying innate immunity in cereals is presented, based mostly on the data obtained for representatives of Triticeae and Oryzaeae, with a focus on the relationship between immunity, induction of autophagy and elicitation of programmed cell death during the defense response in barley.

Ecological genetics. 2020;18(3):273-287
Ecological genetics of beetles of the genus Adalia: composition of A. Bipunctata populations from Italy but not France depends on climatic factors
Zakharov I.A., Rubanovich A.V.

The composition of 13 populations of Adalia bipunctata L. collected in France and Italy was studied. The proportion of black individuals varies from 7.7% to 84.7%. Comparison of the composition of color forms with climatic parameters of habitats showed that the proportion of black individuals in the Italian populations negatively correlates with the mean temperatures of the period of reproduction of beetles (May–July). No such relationship was found for the more Northern populations living in France.

Ecological genetics. 2020;18(3):289-292
Annexins and their role in the control of symbioses development in plants
Kustova D.V., Dolgikh E.A.

Annexins belong to the superfamily of calcium-dependent phospholipid binding proteins. The participation of these proteins in the regulation of structural organization of membranes, vesicular transport and a variety of signal transduction pathways is important for many cellular processes. Despite the structural similarity with animal annexins, plant annexins are characterized by significant variability of the N-terminal region and modification of calcium-binding motifs in II and III repeats, while calcium-binding motifs in I and IV repetitions remain conservative. However, the physiological role of animal and plant annexins, as well as mechanisms of their influence on calcium metabolism, may be similar. This review focused on the latest data about the structure and functioning of plant annexins.

Ecological genetics. 2020;18(3):293-300
Somaclonal variability of conifers in culture in vitro
Gulyaeva E.N., Ignatenko R.V., Galibina N.A.

The use of somatic embryogenesis is one of the promising methods of conifer propagation on an industrial scale. However, this technology has a number of problems, which include the appearance of somaclonal variation in cell and tissue culture. The review considers the causes and methods for detecting somaclonal variability of conifer in culture in vitro. It is shown that it is necessary to use a complex of molecular, cytogenetic, morphological, physiological methods for the analysis of somaclonal changes in embryogenic plant cultures.

Ecological genetics. 2020;18(3):301-315
Hereditary determined diving behaviour in rats as a factor of fitness
Levina A.S., Bondarenko N.A., Shiryaeva N.V., Vaido A.I., Dyuzhikova N.A.

Background. Rats’ natural ability to swim and dive provides adaptation in the wildlife and is widely applied as an instrument in experimental physiology. Nevertheless there’s little scientific evidence on diving behaviour in rats itself. Meanwhile this behavioural pattern might be a notable trait to shed light on functional features of the nervous system, the higher nervous activity structure and evolutional adaptability in animals, including inherited ones.

Materials and methods. In the present work we compared the performance of the spontaneous diving behaviour in the Morris water maze and forced diving behaviour in the “Extrapolation escape task” in two selected rat strains genetically differing in the nervous system excitability threshold.

Results. We found a greater extent and adaptive pattern of both types of the diving behaviour in the high-excitable LT strain. This may be due to such basic features of this strain as high exploratory activity and an increased level of fear reactions. It was also shown that the second, low-excitable HT rat strain, demonstrates maladaptive jumping behaviour in the “Extrapolation escape task” due to higher anxiety level in the stress conditions.

Conclusion. Observed differences between two strains allow us to consider the diving behaviour performed by high-excitable rats an inherited strain characteristic resembling adaptive rat behaviours in the wild and look forward to investigate its genetic mechanisms.

Ecological genetics. 2020;18(3):317-328
Ecosystems metagenomics
Prokaryotic communities of technozems of the spoil heaps of Kursk magnetic anomaly
Ivanova E.A., Pershina E.V., Karpova D.V., Tkhakakhova A.K., Zhelezova A.D., Rogova O.B., Semenov M.V., Stifeev A.I., Nikitin D.A., Kolganova T.V., Andronov E.E.

Background. Spoil heaps chronosequences are convenient models to analyze the succession of microbiome during restoration of anthropogenically disturbed landscapes. The investigation of the heavy metal content in lands with mining activity, can be used as an indicator of ecosystem recovery.

Materials and methods. Objects were technozems of 1-year, 25- and 50-year-old embryonic soils, and control soil under forest. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and NGS-sequencing of V4 region of 16S rRNA gene were applied. Results. During the soil-forming process, an increase organic carbon and nitrogen, as well as a gradual increase archaeal 16S rRNA gene copies and in the number of Bradyrhizobiaceae, Blastocatellaceae, Xantobacteriaceae. Although we found a number of taxa that increased during soil-forming process (Thaumarchaeota, Bradyrhizobiaceae, Blastocatellaceae, Xantobacteriaceae), technozems of different ages had a similar structure and diversity of prokaryotic communities, differing from a nature soil. Biodiversity analysis revealed that technozems generally had a similar structure and diversity of prokaryotic communities, significantly differing from the mature soil a specific clusterization of microbiomes. The HM contents and bacterial abundances remained at the same level in chronosequence.

Conclusions. The 50 years of soil development on overburden spoil heaps is not enough for the recovery from HM contamination and restoration of soil ecosystem functioning.

Ecological genetics. 2020;18(3):331-342
Restoration of soil microbiome in various soil horizons after crown and surface wildfires
Gladkov G.V., Chebykina E.Y., Evdokimova E.V., Ivanova E.A., Kimeklis A.K., Zverev A.О., Kichko A.A., Andronov E.E., Abakumov E.V.

Fires have a strong effect on soil microbiome, and the mechanisms of soil restoration after fires are currently not well understood. This study describes the characteristics of microbial communities in the Psamment Entisol soils of pine forests in the city of Togliatti after forest crown and surface fires. Geochemistry, soil respiration and microbial community structure via 16S rRNA gene sequencing were studied in different soil horizons. Both crown and surface fires resulted in the variations of microbial diversity and shifts in taxonomic composition. There is a tendency to an increase in the proportion of representatives from phyla Actinobacteria and Gemmatimonadetes for soil samples recovering after fires. An increase in the proportion of bacteria (Micrococcaceae, Blastocatellaceae) associated with the degradation of substances formed after combustion also has been shown. The research has shown that the crown fire has a smaller effect on the soil microbiome than the surface fire, the largest changes in the microbiome structure were found in the intermediate horizon. At the same time, differences in the structure of the soil microbiome between horizons are intensified after exposure to the soil of a surface fire.

Ecological genetics. 2020;18(3):343-356
Genetic toxicology
Detection of the DNA primary structure modifications induced by the base analog 6-n-hydroxylaminopurine in the alpha-test in yeast saccharomyces cerevisiae
Zhuk A.S., Stepchenkova E.I., Inge-Vechtomov S.G.

Background. The alpha-test allows to detect inherited genetic changes of different types, as well as phenotypic expression of primary DNA lesions before the lesions are fixed by repair. Here we investigate ability of the alpha-test to detect base modifications induced by 6-N-hydroxylaminopurine (HAP) and determine frequency of inherited and non-inherited genetic changes in yeast strains treated with HAP.

Materials and methods. The alpha-test is based on mating type regulation and detects cell type switch from α to a in heterothallic yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The frequency of mating type switching reflects level of both spontaneous and induced by a mutagen DNA instability. The alpha-test may be performed in two variants: “illegitimate” hybridization and cytoduction. Conducting both complementary tests and analysis of phenotypes of the “illegitimate” hybrids and cytoductants allows to detect the full spectrum of genetic events that lead to mating type switching, such as chromosome III loss and chromosome III arm loss, mutations and temporary lesions, recombination and conversion.

Results. HAP increases the frequency of illegitimate hybridization by 5-fold, and illegitimate cytoduction by 10-fold. A large proportion of the primary lesions induced by HAP causes temporary mating type switch and the remainder parts are converted into inherited point mutations.

Conclusion. The alpha-test can detect HAP-induced base modifications and may be used to investigate the ratio between correct and error-prone processing of such primary DNA lesions. Like other genetic toxicology tests the alpha-test has limitations, which are discussed.

Ecological genetics. 2020;18(3):357-366
Genotoxic biomarkers in patients on hemodialiasis
Eremina N.V., Durnev A.D.

It is generally recognized that genotoxic damage have essential etiopathogenetic significance, and its prevention is an important measure to preserve human life and health. In the framework of this concept, literature information on studies of genotoxic biomarkers in patients with various hemodialysis regiments has been reviewed and summarized, and ways to prevent detectable genotoxicity have been identified. Based on the analysis of the known data, it was concluded that patients of this group have an increased level of DNA and chromosome damage in peripheral blood lymphocytes. Based on the results of individual studies, it was shown that one of the strategies for reducing genotoxicity may be the improvement of hemodialysis therapy methods and regimes, as well as pharmacological and nutritional correction of genotoxic effects.

Ecological genetics. 2020;18(3):367-389
Human ecological genetics
Molecular genetic markers of sensitivity to industrial environment factors at miners
Timofeeva A.A., Minina V.I., Astaf’eva E.A., Golovina T.A., Fedoseev V.I., Ryzhkova A.V., Soboleva O.A., Savchenko Y.A., Bakanova M.L., Glushkov A.A.

Background. Active ribosomal genes and DNA repair genes play an important role in restoring genome integrity. Therefore we were studied relationship of active ribosomal genes dose and DNA repair genes polymorphisms with high level of chromosomal disorders in miners.

Materials and methods. The DNA damage level was assessed using chromosomal aberrations (CA) at 288 coal miners and 676 men in the control group. The dose of active ribosomal gene (AcRG) has been analyzed using Ag-NORS staining regions of chromosomes and cytogenetic semi-quantitative evaluation method. Real-time PCR and allele-specific PCR techniques were used to analyze polymorphic variants of the XPG (rs17655), XPD (rs13181), XRCC2 (rs3218536), and XRCC3 (rs861539) genes.

Results. A statistically significant (p = 0.0001) increase of the СА level at miners was found in comparison with the control group. The association XPD 2251T>G locus with increasing CA level is revealed of in recessive inheritance model (padj = 0.0001). The association XPG 3310G>C locus with increasing СА level is revealed at the smoking workers (padj = 0.017). An average dose of AcRG was registered a statistically significant increase in the frequency of single fragments (p = 0.016) at the miners.

Conclusion. The obtained data on associations of chromosomal aberrations with different variants of DNA repair genes and the dose of active ribosomal genes are useful for the formation of high-risk groups.

Ecological genetics. 2020;18(3):391-403

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