Environment and Genetics

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Genetic and biochemical association studies and SNP analysis,( with special focus on metabolic diseases).

Our Team

  • Suhair Ereqat


  • Kefaya Azmi


    Marwan Qabaja


    Murad Ibrahim



    Recent Submissions

    Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
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      Increased Prevalence of Human Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Israel and The Palestinian Authority Caused by the Recent Emergence of a Population of Genetically Similar Strains of Leishmania tropica
      (Elsevier, 2016-08-05) Azmi, Kifaya ; Krayter, Lena ; Nasereddin, Abedelmajeed ; Ereqat, Suheir ; Schnur, Lionel ; Al-Jawabreh, Amer ; Abdeen, Ziad ; Schonian, Gabriele
      Twelve unlinked microsatellite markers were used to determine the microsatellite profiles of 50 newly and 46 previously typed strains of L. tropica from various Israeli and Palestinian foci. Their microsatellite profiles were compared to those of 99 previously typed strains of L. tropica from 15 countries. Israeli and Palestinian strains of L. tropica fell into three different groups, one of which contained 75 of the 96 Israeli and Palestinian strains. This population separated fromall the others at the first hierarchical level by Bayesian statistics and formed a distinct monophyletic group on applying genetic distance and allele frequency analyses. The second cluster contained ten Israeli strains from a specific focus north of the Sea of Galilee,whichwere previously shown to differ from all other strains of L. tropica in their serological, biochemical and molecular biological parameters. This clusterwas closely related to clusters comprising strains of L. tropica from Africa. Four Israeli and five Palestinian strains fell into different genetic entities mostly related to strains from Asian foci of CL. Importation during numerous migrations of humans and, perhaps, infected reservoir animals in the past and, now, through modern travel is the most likely explanation for the existence of so many locally encountered genetic variants of L. tropica in the Israeli-Palestinian region. Geographical and ecological variation may play a role in expanding the genetic heterogeneity once given importations had become established in different foci. Currently, one population is expanding in the area comprising almost all of the Palestinian and Israeli strains of L. tropica isolated since 1996 and investigated in this study, which differ clearly from all other strains ofwhatsoever origin. This population seems to result from the re-emergence of a previously existing genotype owing to environmental changes and human activities.
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      Genetic, serological and biochemical characterization of Leishmania tropica fromfoci in northern Palestine and discovery of zymodeme MON-307
      (Springer, 2012-06-18) Abdelmajeed Nasseraldeen ; Kefaya Azmi ; Schnur, Lionel ; Pratlong, Francine ; Baidouri, Fouad ; Ravel, Christophe ; Dedet, Jean-Pierre ; Ereqat, Suheir ; Abdeen, Ziad ; Schonian, Gabriele
      Background: Many cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) have been recorded in the Jenin District based on their clinical appearance. Here, their parasites have been characterized in depth. Methods: Leishmanial parasites isolated from 12 human cases of CL from the Jenin District were cultured as promastigotes, whose DNA was extracted. The ITS1 sequence and the 7SL RNA gene were analysed as was the kinetoplast minicircle DNA (kDNA) sequence. Excreted factor (EF) serotyping and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE) were also applied. Results: This extensive characterization identified the strains as Leishmania tropica of two very distinct sub-types that parallel the two sub-groups discerned by multilocus microsatellite typing (MLMT) done previously. A high degree of congruity was displayed among the results generated by the different analytical methods that had examined various cellular components and exposed intra-specific heterogeneity among the 12 strains. Three of the ten strains subjected to MLEE constituted a new zymodeme, zymodeme MON-307, and seven belonged to the known zymodeme MON-137. Ten of the 15 enzymes in the profile of zymodeme MON-307 displayed different electrophoretic mobilities compared with the enzyme profile of the zymodeme MON-137. The closest profile to that of zymodeme MON-307 was that of the zymodeme MON-76 known from Syria. Strains of the zymodeme MON-307 were EF sub-serotype A2 and those of the zymodeme MON-137 were either A9 or A9B4. The sub-serotype B4 component appears, so far, to be unique to some strains of L. tropica of zymodeme MON-137. Strains of the zymodeme MON-137 displayed a distinctive fragment of 417 bp that was absent in those of zymodeme MON-307 when their kDNA was digested with the endonuclease RsaI. kDNA-RFLP after digestion with the endonuclease MboI facilitated a further level of differentiation that partially coincided with the geographical distribution of the human cases from which the strains came. Conclusions: The Palestinian strains that were assigned to different genetic groups differed in their MLEE profiles and their EF types. A new zymodeme, zymodeme MON-307 was discovered that seems to be unique to the northern part of the Palestinian West Bank. What seemed to be a straight forward classical situation of L. tropica causing anthroponotic CL in the Jenin District might be a more complex situation, owing to the presence of two separate sub-types of L. tropica that, possibly, indicates two separate transmission cycles involving two separate types of phlebotomine sand fly vector.