Líffræðifélag Íslands - biologia.is
Líffræðiráðstefnan 2019

Erindi/veggspjald / Talk/poster V8

Study of the genetic and developmental basis of phenotypic differences between sympatric Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) morphs

Höfundar / Authors: Nahal Eskafi (1), Alexander Guðjónsson (1), Sylvain Moinard (1), Lea J. Plesec (1), Sigurður S. Snorrason (1), Zophonias O. Jonsson (1), Arnar Palsson (1), Sigríður Rut Franzdóttir (1)

Starfsvettvangur / Affiliations: 1. Department of Biology, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland.

Kynnir / Presenter: Nahal Eskafi

Understanding the genetic variations and developmental mechanisms that evolution acts upon to build adaptations leading to differences between species is a central topic of biology. To understand mechanisms associated with morph formation we studied gene expression in different morphs of Arctic charr populations in the lake Thingvallavatn. We work with three sympatric charr morphs, two benthic (large LB and small SB) and small pelagic charr (PL). The central questions of this project are, I) which genes have strong genetic differentiation between morphs or morphotypes? II) which of these genes show differential expression between morphs or morphotypes? III) how are these genes expressed during development of the morphs? We use RAD-, transcriptome-, whole genome sequencing followed by genotyping of specific variants, qPCR and in situ hybridization. Genome regions with many variants with high FST values were identified so that further work can characterize these genes. The preliminary data reveal multiple genomic regions that separate the three morphs (FST > 0.5). There is the enrichment of differentially expressed genes within these regions. Previous studies have implicated divergence in genes related to tooth mineralization and perception of stimuli between PL and the benthic morphs but genes contributing to many other biological processes were also found. Arctic charr are a good model to study sympatric speciation and loci shaped by natural selection.