The functional genetic architecture of egg-laying and live-bearing reproduction in common lizards

Recknagel, H. , Carruthers, M., Yurchenko, A. A., Nokhbatolfoghahai, M., Kamenos, N. A. , Bain, M. M. and Elmer, K. R. (2021) The functional genetic architecture of egg-laying and live-bearing reproduction in common lizards. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 5(11), pp. 1546-1556. (doi: 10.1038/s41559-021-01555-4) (PMID:34621056)

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All amniotes reproduce either by egg-laying (oviparity), which is ancestral to vertebrates or by live-bearing (viviparity), which has evolved many times independently. However, the genetic basis of these parity modes has never been resolved and, consequently, its convergence across evolutionary scales is currently unknown. Here, we leveraged natural hybridizations between oviparous and viviparous common lizards (Zootoca vivipara) to describe the functional genes and genetic architecture of parity mode and its key traits, eggshell and gestation length, and compared our findings across vertebrates. In these lizards, parity trait genes were associated with progesterone-binding functions and enriched for tissue remodelling and immune system pathways. Viviparity involved more genes and complex gene networks than did oviparity. Angiogenesis, vascular endothelial growth and adrenoreceptor pathways were enriched in the viviparous female reproductive tissue, while pathways for transforming growth factor were enriched in the oviparous. Natural selection on these parity mode genes was evident genome-wide. Our comparison to seven independent origins of viviparity in mammals, squamates and fish showed that genes active in pregnancy were related to immunity, tissue remodelling and blood vessel generation. Therefore, our results suggest that pre-established regulatory networks are repeatedly recruited for viviparity and that these are shared at deep evolutionary scales.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kamenos, Professor Nick and Carruthers, Madeleine and Recknagel, Mr Hans and Yurchenko, Dr Andrey and Nokhbatolfoghahai, Dr Mohsen and Elmer, Professor Kathryn and Bain, Professor Maureen
Authors: Recknagel, H., Carruthers, M., Yurchenko, A. A., Nokhbatolfoghahai, M., Kamenos, N. A., Bain, M. M., and Elmer, K. R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Nature Ecology and Evolution
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN (Online):2397-334X
Published Online:07 October 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Nature Ecology and Evolution 5(11): 1546-1556
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
Related URLs:
Data DOI:10.5525/gla.researchdata.1138

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
172352From egg-laying to live-bearing: Unravelling the genetics of a major evolutionary transitionKathryn ElmerNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/N003942/1Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine