Heritable genome-wide variation of gene expression and promoter methylation between wild and domesticated chickens
2012 (English)In: BMC Genomics, ISSN 1471-2164, E-ISSN 1471-2164, Vol. 13, no 59Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Variations in gene expression, mediated by epigenetic mechanisms, may cause broad phenotypic effects in animals. However, it has been debated to what extent expression variation and epigenetic modifications, such as patterns of DNA methylation, are transferred across generations, and therefore it is uncertain what role epigenetic variation may play in adaptation. Here, we show that in Red Junglefowl, ancestor of domestic chickens, gene expression and methylation profiles in thalamus/hypothalamus differ substantially from that of a domesticated egg laying breed. Expression as well as methylation differences are largely maintained in the offspring, demonstrating reliable inheritance of epigenetic variation. Some of the inherited methylation differences are tissue-specific, and the differential methylation at specific loci are little changed after eight generations of intercrossing between Red Junglefowl and domesticated laying hens. There was an over-representation of differentially expressed and methylated genes in selective sweep regions associated with chicken domestication. Hence, our results show that epigenetic variation is inherited in chickens, and we suggest that selection of favourable epigenomes, either by selection of genotypes affecting epigenetic states, or by selection of methylation states which are inherited independently of sequence differences, may have been an important aspect of chicken domestication.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2012. Vol. 13, no 59
Domestication, gene expression, tiling array, behaviour, methylation
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-70159DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-13-59ISI: 000301440800001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-70159DiVA: diva2:436075
funding agencies|Swedish Research Council| 2008-14496-59340-36 |Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning| 221 2007 838 |2011-08-222011-08-222016-02-15Bibliographically approved