Dense single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping arrays provide extensive information on polymorphic variation across the genome of species of interest. Such information can be used in studies of the genetic architecture of quantitative traits and to improve the accuracy of selection in breeding programs. In Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), these goals are currently hampered by the lack of a high-density SNP genotyping platform. Therefore, the aim of the study was to develop and test a dense Atlantic salmon SNP array.
Diversity of the mammalian olfactory receptor (OR) repertoire has been globally reshaped by niche specialization. However, little is known about the variability of the OR repertoire at a shallower evolutionary timeframe. The vast bat radiation exhibits an extraordinary variety of trophic and sensory specializations. Unlike other mammals, bats possess a unique and diverse OR gene repertoire. We elucidated whether the evolution of the OR gene repertoire can be linked to ecological niche specializations, such as sensory modalities and diet. The OR gene repertoires of 27 bat species spanning the chiropteran radiation were amplified and sequenced. For each species, intact and nonfunctional genes were assessed, and the OR gene abundances in each gene family were analyzed and compared. We identified a unique OR pattern linked to the frugivorous diet of New World fruit-eating bats and a similar convergent pattern in the Old World fruit-eating bats. Our results show a strong association between niche specialization and OR repertoire diversity even at a shallow evolutionary timeframe.
Metabolic networks attempt to describe the complete suite of biochemical reactions available to an organism. One notable feature of these networks in mammals is the large number of distinct proteins that catalyze the same reaction. While the existence of these isoenzymes has long been known, their evolutionary significance is still unclear. Using a phylogenetically-aware comparative genomics approach, we infer enzyme orthology networks for sixteen mammals as well as for their common ancestors. We find that the pattern of isoenzymes copy-number alterations (CNAs) in these networks is suggestive of natural selection acting on the retention of certain gene duplications. When further analyzing these data with a machine-learning approach, we found that that the pattern of CNAs is also predictive of several important phenotypic traits, including milk composition and geographic range. Integrating tools from network analyses, phylogenetics and comparative genomics both allows the prediction of phenotypes from genetic data and represents a means of unifying distinct biological disciplines.
Hereditary deafness affects 0.1% of individuals globally and is considered as one of the most debilitating diseases of man. Despite recent advances, the molecular basis of normal auditory function is not fully understood and little is known about the contribution of single-nucleotide variations to the disease. Using cross-species comparisons of 11 deafness genes (Myo15, Ush1 g, Strc, Tecta, Tectb, Otog, Col11a2, Gjb2, Cldn14, Kcnq4, Pou3f4) across 69 evolutionary and ecologically divergent mammals, we elucidated whether there was evidence for: (i) adaptive evolution acting on these genes across mammals with similar hearing capabilities; and, (ii) regions of long-term evolutionary conservation within which we predict disease-associated mutations should occur. We find evidence of adaptive evolution acting on the eutherian mammals in Myo15, Otog and Tecta. Examination of selection pressures in Tecta and Pou3f4 across a taxonomic sample that included a wide representation of auditory specialists, the bats, did not uncover any evidence for a role in echolocation. We generated conservation indices based on selection estimates at nucleotide sites and found that known disease mutations fall within sites of high evolutionary conservation. We suggest that methods such as this, derived from estimates of evolutionary conservation using phylogenetically divergent taxa, will help to differentiate between deleterious and benign mutations.
BACKGROUND: Caligid copepods, also called sea lice, are fish ectoparasites, some species of which cause significant problems in the mariculture of salmon, where the annual cost of infection is in excess of [euro sign]300 million globally. At present, caligid control on farms is mainly achieved using medicinal treatments. However, the continued use of a restricted number of medicine actives potentially favours the development of drug resistance. Here, we report transcriptional changes in a laboratory strain of the caligid Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Kr[latin small letter o with stroke]yer, 1837) that is moderately (~7-fold) resistant to the avermectin compound emamectin benzoate (EMB), a component of the anti-salmon louse agent SLICE(R) (Merck Animal Health). RESULTS: Suppression subtractive hybridisation (SSH) was used to enrich transcripts differentially expressed between EMB-resistant (PT) and drug-susceptible (S) laboratory strains of L. salmonis. SSH libraries were subjected to 454 sequencing. Further L. salmonis transcript sequences were available as expressed sequence tags (EST) from GenBank. Contiguous sequences were generated from both SSH and EST sequences and annotated. Transcriptional responses in PT and S salmon lice were investigated using custom 15 K oligonucleotide microarrays designed using the above sequence resources. In the absence of EMB exposure, 359 targets differed in transcript abundance between the two strains, these genes being enriched for functions such as calcium ion binding, chitin metabolism and muscle structure. gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-gated chloride channel (GABA-Cl) and neuronal acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunits showed significantly lower transcript levels in PT lice compared to S lice. Using RT-qPCR, the decrease in mRNA levels was estimated at ~1.4-fold for GABA-Cl and ~2.8-fold for nAChR. Salmon lice from the PT strain showed few transcriptional responses following acute exposure (1 or 3 h) to 200 mug L-1 of EMB, a drug concentration tolerated by PT lice, but toxic for S lice. CONCLUSIONS: Avermectins are believed to exert their toxicity to invertebrates through interaction with glutamate-gated and GABA-gated chloride channels. Further potential drug targets include other Cys-loop ion channels such as nAChR. The present study demonstrates decreased transcript abundances of GABA-Cl and nAChR subunits in EMB-resistant salmon lice, suggesting their involvement in avermectin toxicity in caligids.
Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) is a high-value, niche market species for cold-water marine aquaculture. Production of monosex female stocks is desirable in commercial production since females grow faster and mature later than males. Understanding the sex determination mechanism and developing sex-associated markers will shorten the time for the development of monosex female production, thus decreasing the costs of farming.
The salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Krøyer, 1837)) is a parasitic copepod that can, if untreated, cause considerable damage to Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar Linnaeus, 1758) and incurs significant costs to the Atlantic salmon mariculture industry. Salmon lice are gonochoristic and normally show sex ratios close to 1:1. While this observation suggests that sex determination in salmon lice is genetic, with only minor environmental influences, the mechanism of sex determination in the salmon louse is unknown. This paper describes the identification of a sex-linked Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) marker, providing the first evidence for a genetic mechanism of sex determination in the salmon louse. Restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) was used to isolate SNP markers in a laboratory-maintained salmon louse strain. A total of 85 million raw Illumina 100 base paired-end reads produced 281,838 unique RAD-tags across 24 unrelated individuals. RAD marker Lsa101901 showed complete association with phenotypic sex for all individuals analysed, being heterozygous in females and homozygous in males. Using an allele-specific PCR assay for genotyping, this SNP association pattern was further confirmed for three unrelated salmon louse strains, displaying complete association with phenotypic sex in a total of 96 genotyped individuals. The marker Lsa101901 was located in the coding region of the prohibitin-2 gene, which showed a sex-dependent differential expression, with mRNA levels determined by RT-qPCR about 1.8-fold higher in adult female than adult male salmon lice. This studys observations of a novel sex-linked SNP marker are consistent with sex determination in the salmon louse being genetic and following a female heterozygous system. Marker Lsa101901 provides a tool to determine the genetic sex of salmon lice, and could be useful in the development of control strategies.
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.), a member of the family Salmonidae, is a totemic species of ecological and cultural significance that is also economically important in terms of both sports fisheries and aquaculture. These factors have promoted the continuous development of genomic resources for this species, furthering both fundamental and applied research. MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small endogenous non-coding RNA molecules that control spatial and temporal expression of targeted genes through post-transcriptional regulation. While miRNA have been characterised in detail for many other species, this is not yet the case for Atlantic salmon. To identify miRNAs from Atlantic salmon, we constructed whole fish miRNA libraries for 18 individual juveniles (fry, four months post hatch) and characterised them by Illumina high-throughput sequencing (total of 354,505,167 paired-ended reads). We report an extensive and partly novel repertoire of miRNA sequences, comprising 888 miRNA genes (547 unique mature miRNA sequences), quantify their expression levels in basal conditions, examine their homology to miRNAs from other species and identify their predicted target genes. We also identify the location and putative copy number of the miRNA genes in the draft Atlantic salmon reference genome sequence. The Atlantic salmon miRNAs experimentally identified in this study provide a robust large-scale resource for functional genome research in salmonids. There is an opportunity to explore the evolution of salmonid miRNAs following the relatively recent whole genome duplication event in salmonid species and to investigate the role of miRNAs in the regulation of gene expression in particular their contribution to variation in economically and ecologically important traits.
Sex in Oreochromis niloticus (Nile tilapia) is principally determined by an XX/XY locus but other genetic and environmental factors also influence sex ratio. Restriction Associated DNA (RAD) sequencing was used in two families derived from crossing XY males with females from an isogenic clonal line, in order to identify Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and map the sex-determining region(s). We constructed a linkage map with 3,802 SNPs, which corresponded to 3,280 informative markers, and identified a major sex-determining region on linkage group 1, explaining nearly 96% of the phenotypic variance. This sex-determining region was mapped in a 2 cM interval, corresponding to approximately 1.2 Mb in the O. niloticus draft genome. In order to validate this, a diverse family (4 families; 96 individuals in total) and population (40 broodstock individuals) test panel were genotyped for five of the SNPs showing the highest association with phenotypic sex. From the expanded data set, SNPs Oni23063 and Oni28137 showed the highest association, which persisted both in the case of family and population data. Across the entire dataset all females were found to be homozygous for these two SNPs. Males were heterozygous, with the exception of five individuals in the population and two in the family dataset. These fish possessed the homozygous genotype expected of females. Progeny sex ratios (over 95% females) from two of the males with the "female" genotype indicated that they were neomales (XX males). Sex reversal induced by elevated temperature during sexual differentiation also resulted in phenotypic males with the "female" genotype. This study narrows down the region containing the main sex-determining locus, and provides genetic markers tightly linked to this locus, with an association that persisted across the population. These markers will be of use in refining the production of genetically male O. niloticus for aquaculture.
The evolutionary origins of the multitude of duplicate genes in the plant genomes are still incompletely understood. To gain an appreciation of the potential selective forces acting on these duplicates, we phylogenetically inferred the set of metabolic gene families from 10 flowering plant (angiosperm) genomes. We then compared the metabolic fluxes for these families, predicted using the Arabidopsis thaliana and Sorghum bicolor metabolic networks, with the families duplication propensities. For duplications produced by both small scale (small-scale duplications) and genome duplication (whole-genome duplications), there is a significant association between the flux and the tendency to duplicate. Following this global analysis, we made a more fine-scale study of the selective constraints observed on plant sodium and phosphate transporters. We find that the different duplication mechanisms give rise to differing selective constraints. However, the exact nature of this pattern varies between the gene families, and we argue that the duplication mechanism alone does not define a duplicated genes subsequent evolutionary trajectory. Collectively, our results argue for the interplay of history, function, and selection in shaping the duplicate gene evolution in plants.
The abundance of detected ancient polyploids in extant genomes raises questions regarding evolution after whole-genome duplication (WGD). For instance, what rules govern the preservation or loss of the duplicated genes created by WGD? We explore this question by contrasting two possible preservation forces: selection on relative and absolute gene dosages. Constraints on the relative dosages of central network genes represent an important force for maintaining duplicates (the dosage balance hypothesis). However, preservation may also result from selection on the absolute abundance of certain gene products. The metabolic network of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana is a powerful system for comparing these hypotheses. We analyzed the surviving WGD-produced duplicate genes in this network, finding evidence that the surviving duplicates from the most recent WGD (WGD-?) are clustered in the network, as predicted by the dosage balance hypothesis. A flux balance analysis suggests an association between the survival of duplicates from a more ancient WGD (WGD-?) and reactions with high metabolic flux. We argue for an interplay of relative and absolute dosage constraints, such that the relative constraints imposed by the recent WGD are still being resolved by evolution, while they have been essentially fully resolved for the ancient event.
Robustness to insults, both external and internal, is a characteristic feature of life. One level of biological organization for which noise and robustness have been extensively studied is gene expression. Cells have a variety of mechanisms for buffering noise in gene expression, but it is not completely clear what rules govern whether or not a given gene uses such tools to maintain appropriate expression.
Using two high-quality human metabolic networks, we employed comparative genomics techniques to infer metabolic network structures for seven other mammals. We then studied copy number alterations (CNAs) in these networks. Using a graph-theoretic approach, we show that the pattern of CNAs is distinctly different from the random distributions expected under genetic drift. Instead, we find that changes in copy number are most common among transporter genes and that the CNAs differ depending on the mammalian lineage in question. Thus, we find an excess of transporter genes in cattle involved in the milk production, secretion, and regulation. These results suggest a potential role for dosage selection in the evolution of mammalian metabolic networks.
White-nose syndrome is caused by the fungus Geomyces destructans and is responsible for the deaths of >1,000,000 bats since 2006. This disease and fungus had been restricted to the northeastern United States. We detected this fungus in a bat in France and assessed the implications of this finding.
The ability to smell is governed by the largest gene family in mammalian genomes, the olfactory receptor (OR) genes. Although these genes are well annotated in the finished human and mouse genomes, we still do not understand which receptors bind specific odorants or how they fully function. Previous comparative studies have been taxonomically limited and mostly focused on the percentage of OR pseudogenes within species. No study has investigated the adaptive changes of functional OR gene families across phylogenetically and ecologically diverse mammals. To determine the extent to which OR gene repertoires have been influenced by habitat, sensory specialization, and other ecological traits, to better understand the functional importance of specific OR gene families and thus the odorants they bind, we compared the functional OR gene repertoires from 50 mammalian genomes. We amplified more than 2000 OR genes in aquatic, semi-aquatic, and flying mammals and coupled these data with 48,000 OR genes from mostly terrestrial mammals, extracted from genomic projects. Phylogenomic, Bayesian assignment, and principle component analyses partitioned species by ecotype (aquatic, semi-aquatic, terrestrial, flying) rather than phylogenetic relatedness, and identified OR families important for each habitat. Functional OR gene repertoires were reduced independently in the multiple origins of aquatic mammals and were significantly divergent in bats. We reject recent neutralist views of olfactory subgenome evolution and correlate specific OR gene families with physiological requirements, a preliminary step toward unraveling the relationship between specific odors and respective OR gene families.
Recoding is a term used to describe non-standard read-out of the genetic code, and encompasses such phenomena as programmed ribosomal frameshifting, stop codon readthrough, selenocysteine insertion and translational bypassing. Although only a small proportion of genes utilize recoding in protein synthesis, accurate annotation of recoded genes lags far behind annotation of standard genes. In order to address this issue, provide a service to researchers in the field, and offer training data for developers of gene-annotation software, we have gathered together known cases of recoding within the Recode database. Recode-2 is an improved and updated version of the database. It provides access to detailed information on genes known to utilize translational recoding and allows complex search queries, browsing of recoding data and enhanced visualization of annotated sequence elements. At present, the Recode-2 database stores information on approximately 1500 genes that are known to utilize recoding in their expression--a factor of approximately three increase over the previous version of the database. Recode-2 is available at http://recode.ucc.ie.
The UniPrime2 web server is a publicly available online resource which automatically designs large sets of universal primers when given a gene reference ID or Fasta sequence input by a user. UniPrime2 works by automatically retrieving and aligning homologous sequences from GenBank, identifying regions of conservation within the alignment, and generating suitable primers that can be used to amplify variable genomic regions. In essence, UniPrime2 is a suite of publicly available software packages (Blastn, T-Coffee, GramAlign, Primer3), which reduces the laborious process of primer design, by integrating these programs into a single software pipeline. Hence, UniPrime2 differs from previous primer design web services in that all steps are automated, linked, saved and phylogenetically delimited, only requiring a single user-defined gene reference ID or input sequence. We provide an overview of the web service and wet-laboratory validation of the primers generated. The system is freely accessible at: http://uniprime.batlab.eu. UniPrime2 is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Licence.
Plant and microbial metabolic engineering is commonly used in the production of functional foods and quality trait improvement. Computational model-based approaches have been used in this important endeavour. However, to date, fish metabolic models have only been scarcely and partially developed, in marked contrast to their prominent success in metabolic engineering. In this study we present the reconstruction of fully compartmentalised models of the Danio rerio (zebrafish) on a global scale. This reconstruction involves extraction of known biochemical reactions in D. rerio for both primary and secondary metabolism and the implementation of methods for determining subcellular localisation and assignment of enzymes. The reconstructed model (ZebraGEM) is amenable for constraint-based modelling analysis, and accounts for 4,988 genes coding for 2,406 gene-associated reactions and only 418 non-gene-associated reactions. A set of computational validations (i.e., simulations of known metabolic functionalities and experimental data) strongly testifies to the predictive ability of the model. Overall, the reconstructed model is expected to lay down the foundations for computational-based rational design of fish metabolic engineering in aquaculture.
Here, we describe our updated mathematical model of Arabidopsis thaliana Columbia metabolism, which adds the glucosinolates, an important group of secondary metabolites, to the reactions of primary metabolism. In so doing, we also describe the evolutionary origins of the enzymes involved in glucosinolate synthesis. We use this model to address a long-standing question in plant evolutionary biology: whether or not apparently defensive compounds such as glucosinolates are metabolically costly to produce. We use flux balance analysis to estimate the flux through every metabolic reaction in the model both when glucosinolates are synthesized and when they are absent. As a result, we can compare the metabolic costs of cell synthesis with and without these compounds, as well as inferring which reactions have their flux altered by glucosinolate synthesis. We find that glucosinolate production can increase photosynthetic requirements by at least 15% and that this cost is specific to the suite of glucosinolates found in A. thaliana, with other combinations of glucosinolates being even more costly. These observations suggest that glucosinolates have evolved, and indeed likely continue to evolve, for herbivory defense, since only this interpretation explains the maintenance of such costly traits.
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