DOI: 10.1101/507384Dec 28, 2018Paper

A complex copy number variant underlies differences in both colour plumage and cold adaptation in a dimorphic seabird.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Anna TiganoVicki L Friesen


Colour morphs associated with different physiological adaptations offer unique opportunities to study the genomic basis of otherwise elusive adaptive traits. These complex balanced polymorphisms are often controlled by groups of tightly linked genes, and understanding how these "supergenes" evolve and are maintained is an active area of research in evolutionary biology (Shwander et al. 2014, Thompson and Jiggins 2014). Within the Atlantic, the common murre (Uria aalge, a colonial seabird) displays a plumage colour dimorphism ("bridled" and "unbridled") that seems to be associated with differences in thermal adaptation (Birkhead 1984; Reiertsen et al. 2012). The genes associated with bridling and how these genes affect thermal adaptation are unknown. Using whole genome resequencing, we investigate the genomic basis of differences in colouration and thermal adaptation between the two morphs, and how the association between the two traits is maintained despite random mating. We identify a 60 kb genomic region of high differentiation laying in the intergenic area amongst three candidate genes for colouration and thermal adaptation: retinoic acid receptor beta (RARB), thyroid hormone receptor beta (THRB), and nuclear receptor subfam...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Adaptation, Physiological
Cell Differentiation Process
DNA Transposable Elements
Gene Expression
Gene Products, rev
Recombination, Genetic

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