Early gene expression divergence between allopatric populations of the house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus)

Bryk, Jaroslaw
Somel, Mehmet
Lorenc, Anna
Teschke, Meike
Divergence of gene expression is known to contribute to the differentiation and separation of populations and species, although the dynamics of this process in early stages of population divergence remains unclear. We analyzed gene expression differences in three organs (brain, liver, and testis) between two natural populations of Mus musculus domesticus that have been separated for at most 3000years. We used two different microarray platforms to corroborate the results at a large scale and identified hundreds of genes with significant expression differences between the populations. We find that although the three tissues have similar number of differentially expressed genes, brain and liver have more tissuespecific genes than testis. Most genes show changes in a single tissue only, even when expressed in all tissues, supporting the notion that tissuespecific enhancers act as separable targets of evolution. In terms of functional categories, in brain and to a smaller extent in liver, we find transcription factors and their targets to be particularly variable between populations, similar to previous findings in primates. Testis, however, has a different set of differently expressed genes, both with respect to functional categories and overall correlation with the other tissues, the latter indicating that gene expression divergence of potential importance might be present in other datasets where no differences in fraction of differentially expressed genes were reported. Our results show that a significant amount of gene expression divergence quickly accumulates between allopatric populations.


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The study of gene expression evolution in vertebrates has hitherto focused on the analysis of transcriptomes in tissues of different species. However, because a tissue is made up of different cell types, and cell types differ with respect to their transcriptomes, the analysis of tissues offers a composite picture of transcriptome evolution. The isolation of individual cells from tissue sections opens up the opportunity to study gene expression evolution at the cell type level. We have stained neurons and en...
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Citation Formats
J. Bryk, M. Somel, A. Lorenc, and M. Teschke, “Early gene expression divergence between allopatric populations of the house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus),” ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, pp. 558–568, 2013, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/45136.