Genome-wide genotype-expression relationships reveal both copy number and single nucleotide differentiation contribute to differential gene expression between stickleback ecotypes.

08:00 EDT 12th July 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Genome-wide genotype-expression relationships reveal both copy number and single nucleotide differentiation contribute to differential gene expression between stickleback ecotypes."

Repeated and independent emergence of trait divergence that matches habitat differences is a sign of parallel evolution by natural selection. Yet, the molecular underpinnings that are targeted by adaptive evolution often remain elusive. We investigate this question by combining genome-wide analyses of copy number variants (CNVs), single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and gene expression across four pairs of lake and river populations of the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). We tested whether CNVs that span entire genes and SNPs occurring in putative cis-regulatory regions contribute to gene expression differences between sticklebacks from lake and river origins. We found 135 gene CNVs that showed a significant positive association between gene copy number and gene expression, suggesting that CNVs result in dosage effects that can fuel phenotypic variation and serve as substrates for habitat-specific selection. Copy number differentiation between lake and river sticklebacks also contributed to expression differences of two immune-related genes in immune tissues, cathepsin A and GIMAP7. In addition, we identified SNPs in cis-regulatory regions (eSNPs) associated with the expression of 1865 genes, including one eSNP upstream of a carboxypeptidase gene where both the SNP alleles differentiated and the gene was differentially expressed between lake and river populations. Our study highlights two types of mutations as important sources of genetic variation involved in the evolution of gene expression and in potentially facilitating repeated adaptation to novel environments.


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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Genome biology and evolution
ISSN: 1759-6653


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