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Parent and offspring genotypes influence gene expression in early life.

Authors
  • Newhouse, Daniel J1
  • Barcelo-Serra, Margarida2
  • Tuttle, Elaina M2
  • Gonser, Rusty A2
  • Balakrishnan, Christopher N1
  • 1 Department of Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA.
  • 2 Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN, USA. , (India)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Molecular Ecology
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2019
Volume
28
Issue
18
Pages
4166–4180
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/mec.15205
PMID: 31421010
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Parents can have profound effects on offspring fitness. Little, however, is known about the mechanisms through which parental genetic variation influences offspring physiology in natural systems. White-throated sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis, WTSP) exist in two genetic morphs, tan and white, controlled by a large polymorphic supergene. Morphs mate disassortatively, resulting in two pair types: tan male × white female (T × W) pairs, which provide biparental care and white male × tan female (W × T) pairs, which provide female-biased care. To investigate how parental composition impacts offspring, we performed RNA-seq on whole blood of WTSP nestlings sampled from nests of both pair types. Parental pair type had a large effect on nestling gene expression, with 881 genes differentially expressed (DE) and seven correlated gene coexpression modules. The DE genes and modules expressed at higher levels in W × T nests with female-biased parental care function in metabolism and stress-related pathways resulting from the overrepresentation of proteolysis and stress-response genes (e.g., SOD2, NR3C1). These results show that parental genotypes and/or associated behaviours influence nestling physiology, and highlight avenues of further research investigating the ultimate implications for the maintenance of this polymorphism. Nestlings also exhibited morph-specific gene expression, with 92 differentially expressed genes, comprising immunity genes and genes encompassed by the supergene. Remarkably, we identified the same regulatory hub genes in these blood-derived expression networks as were previously identified in adult WTSP brains (EPM2A, BPNT1, TAF5L). These hub genes were located within the supergene, highlighting the importance of this gene complex in structuring regulatory networks across diverse tissues. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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