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

Santos, M. Emília, Braasch, Ingo, Boileau, Nicolas, Meyer, Britta S., Sauteur, Loïc, Böhne, Astrid, Belting, Heinz-Georg, Affolter, Markus and Salzburger, Walter (2014) The evolution of cichlid fish egg-spots is linked with a cis-regulatory change Nature Communications, 5 (5149). DOI 10.1038/ncomms6149.

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Abstract

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

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Biological sciences; Evolution; Zoology; egg-spotts
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1038/ncomms6149
ISSN: 2041-1723
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2014 07:48
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2017 08:11
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/25752

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