Evolution of cichlid vision via trans-regulatory divergence

dc.contributor.authorO’Quin, Kelly E
dc.contributor.authorSchulte, Jane E
dc.contributor.authorPatel, Zil
dc.contributor.authorKahn, Nadia
dc.contributor.authorNaseer, Zan
dc.contributor.authorWang, Helena
dc.contributor.authorConte, Matthew A
dc.contributor.authorCarleton, Karen L
dc.description.abstractPhenotypic evolution may occur through mutations that affect either the structure or expression of protein-coding genes. Although the evolution of color vision has historically been attributed to structural mutations within the opsin genes, recent research has shown that opsin regulatory mutations can also tune photoreceptor sensitivity and color vision. Visual sensitivity in African cichlid fishes varies as a result of the differential expression of seven opsin genes. We crossed cichlid species that express different opsin gene sets and scanned their genome for expression Quantitative Trait Loci (eQTL) responsible for these differences. Our results shed light on the role that different structural, cis-, and trans-regulatory mutations play in the evolution of color vision. We identified 11 eQTL that contribute to the divergent expression of five opsin genes. On three linkage groups, several eQTL formed regulatory “hotspots” associated with the expression of multiple opsins. Importantly, however, the majority of the eQTL we identified (8/11 or 73%) occur on linkage groups located trans to the opsin genes, suggesting that cichlid color vision has evolved primarily via trans-regulatory divergence. By modeling the impact of just two of these trans-regulatory eQTL, we show that opsin regulatory mutations can alter cichlid photoreceptor sensitivity and color vision at least as much as opsin structural mutations can. Combined with previous work, we demonstrate that the evolution of cichlid color vision results from the interplay of structural, cis-, and especially trans-regulatory loci. Although there are numerous examples of structural and cis-regulatory mutations that contribute to phenotypic evolution, our results suggest that trans-regulatory mutations could contribute to phenotypic divergence more commonly than previously expected, especially in systems like color vision, where compensatory changes in the expression of multiple genes are required in order to produce functional phenotypes.en_US
dc.identifier.citationO’Quin, K.E., Schulte, J.E., Patel, Z. et al. Evolution of cichlid vision via trans-regulatory divergence. BMC Evol Biol 12, 251 (2012).en_US
dc.publisherSpringer Natureen_US
dc.relation.isAvailableAtCollege of Computer, Mathematical & Physical Sciencesen_us
dc.relation.isAvailableAtDigital Repository at the University of Marylanden_us
dc.relation.isAvailableAtUniversity of Maryland (College Park, MD)en_us
dc.subjectLinkage Groupen_US
dc.subjectColor Visionen_US
dc.subjectStructural Mutationen_US
dc.subjectOpsin Geneen_US
dc.subjectOpsin Expressionen_US
dc.titleEvolution of cichlid vision via trans-regulatory divergenceen_US


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