Investigating the genetic basis of vertebrate dispersal combining RNA-seq, RAD-seq and quantitative genetics

San‐Jose, L. M. et al. (2023) Investigating the genetic basis of vertebrate dispersal combining RNA-seq, RAD-seq and quantitative genetics. Molecular Ecology, 32(12), pp. 3060-3075. (doi: 10.1111/mec.16916) (PMID:36872057)

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Although animal dispersal is known to play key roles in ecological and evolutionary processes such as colonization, population extinction and local adaptation, little is known about its genetic basis, particularly in vertebrates. Untapping the genetic basis of dispersal should deepen our understanding of how dispersal behaviour evolves, the molecular mechanisms that regulate it and link it to other phenotypic aspects in order to form the so-called dispersal syndromes. Here, we comprehensively combined quantitative genetics, genome-wide sequencing and transcriptome sequencing to investigate the genetic basis of natal dispersal in a known ecological and evolutionary model of vertebrate dispersal: the common lizard, Zootoca vivipara. Our study supports the heritability of dispersal in semi-natural populations, with less variation attributable to maternal and natal environment effects. In addition, we found an association between natal dispersal and both variation in the Carbonic Anhydrase (CA10) gene, and in the expression of several genes (TGFB2, SLC6A4, NOS1) involved in central nervous system functioning. These findings suggest that neurotransmitters (serotonin and nitric oxide) are involved in the regulation of dispersal and shaping dispersal syndromes. Several genes from the circadian clock (CRY2, KCTD21) were also differentially expressed between disperser and resident lizards, supporting that the circadian rhythm, known to be involved in long-distance migration in other taxa, might affect dispersal as well. Since neuronal and circadian pathways are relatively well conserved across vertebrates, our results are likely to be generalisable, and we therefore encourage future studies to further investigate the role of these pathways in shaping dispersal in vertebrates.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Recknagel, Mr Hans and Elmer, Professor Kathryn and Yurchenko, Dr Andrey
Authors: San‐Jose, L. M., Bestion, E., Pellerin, F., Richard, M., Di Gesu, L., Salmona, J., Winandy, L., Legrand, D., Bonneaud, C., Guillaume, O., Calvez, O., Elmer, K. R., Yurchenko, A. A., Recknagel, H., Clobert, J., and Cote, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Molecular Ecology
ISSN (Online):1365-294X
Published Online:05 March 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Authors
First Published:First published in Molecular Ecology 32(12):3060–3075
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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