Journal Article

Genetic analysis reveals candidate genes for activity QTL in the blind Mexican tetra, Astyanax mexicanus

Carlson, B.M., Klingler, I.B., Meyer, B.J. and Gross, J.B.

Record Number:
4141
Year:
2018
Journal:
PeerJ
Volume:
6:e5189
Abstract:
Animal models provide useful tools for exploring the genetic basis of morphological, physiological and behavioral phenotypes. Cave-adapted species are particularly powerful models for a broad array of phenotypic changes with evolutionary, developmental and clinical relevance. Here, we explored the genetic underpinnings of previously characterized differences in locomotor activity patterns between the surface-dwelling and Pachón cave-dwelling populations of Astyanax mexicanus. We identified multiple novel QTL underlying patterns in overall levels of activity (velocity), as well as spatial tank use (time spent near the top or bottom of the tank). Further, we demonstrated that different regions of the genome mediate distinct patterns in velocity and tank usage. We interrogated eight genomic intervals underlying these activity QTL distributed across six linkage groups. In addition, we employed transcriptomic data and draft genomic resources to generate and evaluate a list of 36 potential candidate genes. Interestingly, our data support the candidacy of a number of genes, but do not suggest that differences in the patterns of behavior observed here are the result of alterations to certain candidate genes described in other species (e.g., teleost multiple tissue opsins, melanopsins or members of the core circadian clockwork). This study expands our knowledge of the genetic architecture underlying activity differences in surface and cavefish. Future studies will help define the role of specific genes in shaping complex behavioral phenotypes in Astyanax and other vertebrate taxa.
Times Cited:
1
Related Records:
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