PlasticitySpeciation

Institutions
  • Department of Biology
Publications
    Franchini, Paolo; Fruciano, Carmelo; Spreitzer, Maria L.; Jones, Julia; Elmer, Kathryn R.; Henning, Frederico; Meyer, Axel (2014): Genomic architecture of ecologically divergent body shape in a pair of sympatric crater lake cichlid fishes Molecular Ecology. 2014, 23(7), pp. 1828-1845. ISSN 0962-1083. eISSN 1365-294X. Available under: doi: 10.1111/mec.12590

Genomic architecture of ecologically divergent body shape in a pair of sympatric crater lake cichlid fishes

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Determining the genetic bases of adaptations and their roles in speciation is a prominent issue in evolutionary biology. Cichlid fish species flocks are a prime example of recent rapid radiations, often associated with adaptive phenotypic divergence from a common ancestor within a short period of time. In several radiations of freshwater fishes, divergence in ecomorphological traits — including body shape, colour, lips and jaws — is thought to underlie their ecological differentiation, specialization and, ultimately, speciation. The Midas cichlid species complex (Amphilophus spp.) of Nicaragua provides one of the few known examples of sympatric speciation where species have rapidly evolved different but parallel morphologies in young crater lakes. This study identified significant QTL for body shape using SNPs generated via ddRAD sequencing and geometric morphometric analyses of a cross between two ecologically and morphologically divergent, sympatric cichlid species endemic to crater Lake Apoyo: an elongated limnetic species (Amphilophus zaliosus) and a high-bodied benthic species (Amphilophus astorquii). A total of 453 genome-wide informative SNPs were identified in 240 F2 hybrids. These markers were used to construct a genetic map in which 25 linkage groups were resolved. Seventy-two segregating SNPs were linked to 11 QTL. By annotating the two most highly supported QTL-linked genomic regions, genes that might contribute to divergence in body shape along the benthic–limnetic axis in Midas cichlid sympatric adaptive radiations were identified. These results suggest that few genomic regions of large effect contribute to early stage divergence in Midas cichlids.

Origin (projects)

    Gunter, Helen M.; Fan, Shaohua; Xiong, Fan; Franchini, Paolo; Fruciano, Carmelo; Meyer, Axel (2013): Shaping development through mechanical strain : the transcriptional basis of diet-induced phenotypic plasticity in a cichlid fish Molecular Ecology. 2013, 22(17), pp. 4516-4531. ISSN 0962-1083. eISSN 1365-294X. Available under: doi: 10.1111/mec.12417

Shaping development through mechanical strain : the transcriptional basis of diet-induced phenotypic plasticity in a cichlid fish

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Adaptive phenotypic plasticity, the ability of an organism to change its phenotype to match local environments, is increasingly recognized for its contribution to evolution. However, few empirical studies have explored the molecular basis of plastic traits. The East African cichlid fish Astatoreochromis alluaudi displays adaptive phenotypic plasticity in its pharyngeal jaw apparatus, a structure that is widely seen as an evolutionary key innovation that has contributed to the remarkable diversity of cichlid fishes. It has previously been shown that in response to different diets, the pharyngeal jaws change their size, shape and dentition: hard diets induce an adaptive robust molariform tooth phenotype with short jaws and strong internal bone structures, while soft diets induce a gracile papilliform tooth phenotype with elongated jaws and slender internal bone structures. To gain insight into the molecular underpinnings of these adaptations and enable future investigations of the role that phenotypic plasticity plays during the formation of adaptive radiations, the transcriptomes of the two divergent jaw phenotypes were examined. Our study identified a total of 187 genes whose expression differs in response to hard and soft diets, including immediate early genes, extracellular matrix genes and inflammatory factors. Transcriptome results are interpreted in light of expression of candidate genes-markers for tooth size and shape, bone cells and mechanically sensitive pathways. This study opens up new avenues of research at new levels of biological organization into the roles of phenotypic plasticity during speciation and radiation of cichlid fishes.

Origin (projects)

    Fruciano, Carmelo; Franchini, Paolo; Meyer, Axel (2013): Resampling-Based Approaches to Study Variation in Morphological Modularity PLoS ONE. 2013, 8(7), e69376. eISSN 1932-6203. Available under: doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069376

Resampling-Based Approaches to Study Variation in Morphological Modularity

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Modularity has been suggested to be connected to evolvability because a higher degree of independence among parts allows them to evolve as separate units. Recently, the Escoufier RV coefficient has been proposed as a measure of the degree of integration between modules in multivariate morphometric datasets. However, it has been shown, using randomly simulated datasets, that the value of the RV coefficient depends on sample size. Also, so far there is no statistical test for the difference in the RV coefficient between a priori defined groups of observations. Here, we (1), using a rarefaction analysis, show that the value of the RV coefficient depends on sample size also in real geometric morphometric datasets; (2) propose a permutation procedure to test for the difference in the RV coefficient between a priori defined groups of observations; (3) show, through simulations, that such a permutation procedure has an appropriate Type I error; (4) suggest that a rarefaction procedure could be used to obtain sample-size-corrected values of the RV coefficient; and (5) propose a nearest-neighbor procedure that could be used when studying the variation of modularity in geographic space. The approaches outlined here, readily extendable to non-morphometric datasets, allow study of the variation in the degree of integration between a priori defined modules. A Java application – that will allow performance of the proposed test using a software with graphical user interface – has also been developed and is available at the Morphometrics at Stony Brook Web page (http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/morph/).

Origin (projects)

Funding sources
Name Finanzierungstyp Kategorie Project no.
Europäische Union third-party funds research funding program 868/12
Further information
Period: 01.03.2013 – 28.02.2015