- Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Transcriptional responses are oriented towards different components of the rearing environment in two Drosophila sibling species
De Panis, D.; Dopazo, H.; Bongcam-Rudloff, E.; Conesa, A.; Hasson, E.
Background The chance to compare patterns of differential gene expression in related ecologically distinct species can be particularly fruitful to investigate the genetics of adaptation and phenotypic plasticity. In this regard, a powerful technique such as RNA-Seq applied to ecologically amenable taxa allows to address issues that are not possible in classic model species. Here, we study gene expression profiles and larval performance of the cactophilic siblings Drosophila buzzatii and D. koepferae reared in media that approximate natural conditions and evaluate both chemical and nutritional components of the diet. These closely related species are complementary in terms of host-plant use since the primary host of one is the secondary of the other. D. koepferae is mainly a columnar cactus dweller while D. buzzatii prefers Opuntia hosts. Results Our comparative study shows that D. buzzatii and D. koepferae have different transcriptional strategies to face the challenges posed by their natural resources. The former has greater transcriptional plasticity, and its response is mainly modulated by alkaloids of its secondary host, while the latter has a more canalized genetic response, and its transcriptional plasticity is associated with the cactus species. Conclusions Our study unveils a complex pleiotropic genetic landscape in both species, with functional links that relate detox responses and redox mechanisms with developmental and neurobiological processes. These results contribute to deepen our understanding of the role of host plant shifts and natural stress driving ecological specialization.
Comparative transcriptomics; Adaptation; Plasticity; Drosophila; Mescaline
2022, Volume: 23, article number: 515
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