Regulation of gene expression is thought to play a major role in adaptation but the relative importance of cis- and trans- regulatory mechanisms in the early stages of adaptive divergence is unclear. Using RNAseq of threespine stickleback fish gill tissue from four independent marine-freshwater ecotype pairs and their F1 hybrids, we show that cis-acting (allele-specific) regulation consistently predominates gene expression divergence. Genes showing parallel marine-freshwater expression divergence are found near to adaptive genomic regions, show signatures of natural selection around their transcription start sites and are enriched for cis-regulatory control. For genes with parallel increased expression among freshwater fish, the quantitative degree of cis- and trans-regulation is also highly correlated across populations, suggesting a shared genetic basis. Compared to other forms of regulation, cis-regulation tends to show greater additivity and stability across different genetic and environmental contexts, making it a fertile substrate for the early stages of adaptive evolution.
- Felicity C Jones
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All of the animals were housed at an approved animal facility and handled according to Baden-Württemberg State approved protocols at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany (license numbers 35/9185.82-5 and 35/9185.40).
- Juliette de Meaux, University of Cologne, Germany
© 2019, Verta & Jones
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)
Download citations (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)
Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)
The tomato russet mite, Aculops lycopersici, is among the smallest animals on earth. It is a worldwide pest on tomato and can potently suppress the host's natural resistance. We sequenced its genome, the first of an eriophyoid, and explored whether there are genomic features associated with the mite's minute size and lifestyle. At only 32.5 Mb, the genome is the smallest yet reported for any arthropod and, reminiscent of microbial eukaryotes, exceptionally streamlined. It has few transposable elements, tiny intergenic regions, and is remarkably intron-poor, as more than 80% of coding genes are intronless. Furthermore, in accordance with ecological specialization theory, this defense-suppressing herbivore has extremely reduced environmental response gene families such as those involved in chemoreception and detoxification. Other losses associate with this species' highly derived body plan. Our findings accelerate the understanding of evolutionary forces underpinning metazoan life at the limits of small physical and genome size.
Growth plate and articular cartilage constitute a single anatomical entity early in development but later separate into two distinct structures by the secondary ossification center (SOC). The reason for such separation remains unknown. We found that evolutionarily SOC appears in animals conquering the land - amniotes. Analysis of the ossification pattern in mammals with specialized extremities (whales, bats, jerboa) revealed that SOC development correlates with the extent of mechanical loads. Mathematical modeling revealed that SOC reduces mechanical stress within the growth plate. Functional experiments revealed the high vulnerability of hypertrophic chondrocytes to mechanical stress and showed that SOC protects these cells from apoptosis caused by extensive loading. Atomic force microscopy showed that hypertrophic chondrocytes are the least mechanically stiff cells within the growth plate. Altogether, these findings suggest that SOC has evolved to protect the hypertrophic chondrocytes from the high mechanical stress encountered in the terrestrial environment.