DOI: 10.1101/488684Dec 7, 2018Paper

Parent and offspring genotypes influence gene expression in early life

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Daniel J NewhouseChristopher N Balakrishnan


Parents can have profound effects on offspring fitness. Little, however, is known about the mechanisms through which parental genetic variation influences offspring physiology in natural systems. White-throated sparrows ( Zonotrichia albicollis , WTSP) exist in two genetic morphs, tan and white, controlled by a large polymorphic supergene. Morphs mate disassortatively, resulting in two pair types: tan male x white female (TxW) pairs, which provide biparental care and white male x tan female (WxT) pairs, which provide female-biased care. To investigate how parental composition impacts offspring, we performed RNA-seq on whole blood of WTSP nestlings sampled from nests of both pair types. Parental pair type had a large effect on nestling gene expression, with 881 genes differentially expressed (DE) and seven correlated gene co-expression modules. The DE genes and modules up-regulated in WxT nests with female-biased parental care primarily function in metabolism and stress-related pathways resulting from the overrepresentation of proteolysis and stress response genes (e.g. SOD2, NR3C1). These results show that parental genotypes and/or associated behaviors influence nestling physiology, and highlight avenues of further research inv...Continue Reading

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