The evolution of cichlid fish egg-spots is linked with a cis-regulatory change

Santos, M. Emília and Braasch, Ingo and Boileau, Nicolas and Meyer, Britta S. and Sauteur, Loïc and Böhne, Astrid and Belting, Heinz-Georg and Affolter, Markus and Salzburger, Walter. (2014) The evolution of cichlid fish egg-spots is linked with a cis-regulatory change. Nature Communications, 5. p. 5149.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6308478

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The origin of novel phenotypic characters is a key component in organismal diversification; yet, the mechanisms underlying the emergence of such evolutionary novelties are largely unknown. Here we examine the origin of egg-spots, an evolutionary innovation of the most species-rich group of cichlids, the haplochromines, where these conspicuous male fin colour markings are involved in mating. Applying a combination of RNAseq, comparative genomics and functional experiments, we identify two novel pigmentation genes, fhl2a and fhl2b, and show that especially the more rapidly evolving b-paralog is associated with egg-spot formation. We further find that egg-spot bearing haplochromines, but not other cichlids, feature a transposable element in the cis-regulatory region of fhl2b. Using transgenic zebrafish, we finally demonstrate that this region shows specific enhancer activities in iridophores, a type of pigment cells found in egg-spots, suggesting that a cis-regulatory change is causally linked to the gain of expression in egg-spot bearing haplochromines.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Growth & Development > Cell Biology (Affolter)
05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Evolutionary Biology (Salzburger)
UniBasel Contributors:Affolter, Markus and Salzburger, Walter and Böhne, Astrid
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:21 Sep 2020 15:06
Deposited On:05 Dec 2014 09:45

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