Conference Paper

The unusual suspects: Genetic analysis reveals candidate genes potentially underlying altered activity profiles in the blind Mexican tetra, Astyanax mexicanus

Carlson, B.M. and Gross, J.B.

Record Number:
3887
Year:
2016
Abstract:
Cave-adapted species display a wide array of morphological, physiological and behavioral alterations that have accompanied their colonization of these extreme environments. The perpetual darkness, stability and isolation of cave ecosystems have made these organisms attractive systems in which to study the consequences of life without light and the strategies that allow species to survive and even thrive in such environments. Astyanax mexicanus, the blind Mexican tetra, has found particular favor as a natural model system for studying regressive evolution and cave adaptation due to the fact that this species is tractable in a lab setting, includes ~30 different cave populations and consists of both a derived, cave morphotype and an extant surface morphotype, which can be readily hybridized. In this study, we investigated the genetic underpinnings of differences in locomotor activity between the surface and Pachón cave forms of Astyanax mexicanus. An automated, video-based system was used to assay the activity of each member of an F2 surface x Pachón hybrid pedigree over the course of 24 hours. Subsequent analysis of the data generated revealed the presence of multiple quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with metrics for levels of overall activity, as well as spatial components of locomotor activity patterns. Available genomic and transcriptomic data were then leveraged to screen genes found in the genomic intervals underlying these QTL and generate a set of potential candidates for further study. Our results highlight several genes that may play a role in mediating observed changes in locomotor activity and related behaviors. Interestingly, while our results support the candidacy of a number of genes, they do not suggest that differences in the patterns of behavior observed in this study are the results of alterations to members of the core circadian clockwork, teleost multiple tissue opsins or melanopsins, as has described in other species.
Times Cited:
1
Conference Name:
23rd International Conference on Subterranean Biology
Conference Year:
2016
Conference Location:
2016
Conference Location:
2016
Related Records:
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