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Do changes in gene expression contribute to sexual isolation and reinforcement in the house mouse?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Evolutionary Biology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0612-9230
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2017 (English)In: Molecular Ecology, ISSN 0962-1083, E-ISSN 1365-294X, Vol. 26, no 19, p. 5189-5202Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Expression divergence, rather than sequence divergence, has been shown to be important in speciation, particularly in the early stages of divergence of traits involved in reproductive isolation. In the two European subspecies of house mice, Mus musculus musculus and Mus musculus domesticus, earlier studies have demonstrated olfactory-based assortative mate preference in populations close to their hybrid zone. It has been suggested that this behaviour evolved following the recent secondary contact between the two taxa ( 3,000 years ago) in response to selection against hybridization. To test for a role of changes in gene expression in the observed behavioural shift, we conducted a RNA sequencing experiment on mouse vomeronasal organs. Key candidate genes for pheromone-based subspecies recognition, the vomeronasal receptors, are expressed in these organs. Overall patterns of gene expression varied significantly between samples from the two subspecies, with a large number of differentially expressed genes between the two taxa. In contrast, only 200 genes were found repeatedly differentially expressed between populations within M. m. musculus that did or did not display assortative mate preferences (close to or more distant from the hybrid zone, respectively), with an overrepresentation of genes belonging to vomeronasal receptor family 2. These receptors are known to play a key role in recognition of chemical cues that handle information about genetic identity. Interestingly, four of five of these differentially expressed receptors belong to the same phylogenetic cluster, suggesting specialization of a group of closely related receptors in the recognition of odorant signals that may allow subspecies recognition and assortative mating.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 26, no 19, p. 5189-5202
Keywords [en]
speciation, hybrid zone, assortative mate preference, olfaction, RNA-seq, vomeronasal receptors
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-390737DOI: 10.1111/mec.14212OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-390737DiVA, id: diva2:1342614
Available from: 2019-08-14 Created: 2019-08-14 Last updated: 2019-08-22Bibliographically approved

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