[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maps generated using a modified the NR database from NCBI as reference, taxonomic relationships from NCBI Taxonomy to define the most populated branches of the phylogenetic tree for each species and blastp e-value of 1e-3
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mandible shape in the mouse is a complex trait that is influenced by many genetic factors. However, little is known about the action of single genes on adult mandible shape so far, since most developmentally relevant genes are already required during embryogenesis, i.e., knockouts lead to embryonic death or severe deformations, before the mandible is fully formed. We employ here a geometric morphometric approach to identify subtle phenotypic differences caused by dosage effects of candidate genes. We use mouse strains with specific gene modifications (knockouts and knockins) to compare heterozygous animals with controls from the same stock, which is expected to be equivalent to a change of gene expression of the respective locus. Such differences in expression level are also likely to occur as part of the natural variation. We focus on Bmp pathway genes (Bmp4, its antagonist Noggin, and combinations of Bmp5-7 genotypes), but include also two other developmental control genes suspected to affect mandible development in some way (Egfr and Irf6). In addition, we study the effects of Hoxd13, as well as an extracellular matrix constituent (Col2a1). We find that subtle but significant shape differences are caused by differences in gene dosage of several of these genes. The changes seen for Bmp4 and Noggin are partially compatible with the action of these genes known from birds and fish. We find significant shape changes also for Hoxd13, although this gene has so far only been implicated in skeletal patterning processes of the limbs. Comparing the effect sizes of gene dosage changes to the variation found in natural populations of mice as well as quantitative trait loci (QTL) effects on mandible shape, we find that the effect sizes caused by gene dosage changes are at the lower end of the spectrum of natural variation, but larger than the average additive effects found in QTL studies. We conclude that studying gene dosage effects have the potential to provide new insights into aspects of craniofacial development, variation, and evolution.
Development Genes and Evolution 04/2013; · 1.70 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The introduction and statistical formalisation of landmark-based methods in analysing biological shapes has made a major impact on comparative morphometric analyses. However, a satisfactory solution for including information from 2D/3D shapes represented by semi-landmarks alongside well-defined landmarks into the analyses is still missing. Also, there has not been an integration of a statistical treatment of measurement error in the current approaches. RESULTS: We propose a procedure based upon the description of landmarks with measurement covariance, which extends statistical linear modelling processes to semi-landmarks for further analysis. Our formulation is based upon a self consistent approach to the construction of likelihood-based parameter estimation and includes corrections for parameter bias, induced by the degrees of freedom within the linear model. The method has been implemented and tested on measurements from 2D fly wing, 2D mouse mandible and 3D mouse skull data. We use these data to explore possible advantages and disadvantages over the use of standard Procrustes/PCA analysis via a combination of Monte-Carlo studies and quantitative statistical tests. In the process we show how appropriate weighting provides not only greater stability but also more efficient use of the available landmark data. The set of new landmarks generated in our procedure (ghost points) can then be used in any further downstream statistical analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Our approach provides a consistent way of including different forms of landmarks into an analysis and reduces instabilities due to poorly defined points. Our results suggest that the method has the potential to be utilised for the analysis of 2D/3D data, and in particular, for the inclusion of information from surfaces represented by multiple landmark points.
Frontiers in Zoology 04/2013; 10(1):16. · 3.87 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The evolutionary divergence of cues for mate recognition can contribute to early stages of population separation. We compare here two allopatric populations of house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) that have become separated about 3000 years ago. We have used paternity assignments in semi-natural environments to study the degree of mutual mate recognition according to population origin under conditions of free choice and overlapping generations. Our results provide insights into the divergence of mating cues, but also for the mating system of house mice. We find frequent multiple mating, occurrence of inbreeding and formation of extended family groups. In addition, many animals show strong mate fidelity, that is, frequent choice of the same mating partners in successive breeding cycles, indicating a role for familiarity in mating preference. With respect to population divergence, we find evidence for assortative mating, but only under conditions where the animals had time to familiarize themselves with mating partners from their own population. Most interestingly, the first-generation offspring born in the enclosure showed a specific mating pattern. Although matings between animals of hybrid population origin with animals of pure population origin should have occurred with equal frequency with respect to matching the paternal or maternal origin, paternal matching with mates from their own populations occurred much more often. Our findings suggest that paternally imprinted cues play a role in mate recognition between mice and that the cues evolve fast, such that animals of populations that are separated since not more than 3000 years can differentially recognize them.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Poleward range expansions are observed for an increasing number of species, which may be an effect of global warming during the past decades. However, it is still not clear in how far these expansions reflect simple geographical shifts of species ranges, or whether new genetic adaptations play a role as well. Here, we analyse the expansion of the wasp spider Argiope bruennichi into Northern Europe during the last century. We have used a range-wide sampling of contemporary populations and historical specimens from museums to trace the phylogeography and genetic changes associated with the range shift. Based on the analysis of mitochondrial, microsatellite and SNP markers, we observe a higher level of genetic diversity in the expanding populations, apparently due to admixture of formerly isolated lineages. Using reciprocal transplant experiments for testing overwintering tolerance, as well as temperature preference and tolerance tests in the laboratory, we find that the invading spiders have possibly shifted their temperature niche. This may be a key adaptation for survival in Northern latitudes. The museum samples allow a reconstruction of the invasion's genetic history. A first, small-scale range shift started around 1930, in parallel with the onset of global warming. A more massive invasion of Northern Europe associated with genetic admixture and morphological changes occurred in later decades. We suggest that the latter range expansion into far Northern latitudes may be a consequence of the admixture that provided the genetic material for adaptations to new environmental regimes. Hence, global warming could have facilitated the initial admixture of populations and this resulted in genetic lineages with new habitat preferences.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although microarrays are routine analysis tools in biomedical research,
they still yield noisy output that often requires experimental
confirmation. Many studies have aimed at optimizing probe design and
statistical analysis to tackle this problem. However, less emphasis has
been placed on controlling the noise inherent to the experimental
approach. To address this problem, we investigate here a procedure that
controls for such experimental variance and combine it with an
assessment of probe performance. Two custom arrays were used to evaluate
the procedure: one based on 25mer probes from an Affymetrix design and
the other based on 60mer probes from an Agilent design. To assess
experimental variance, all probes were replicated ten times. To assess
probe performance, the probes were calibrated using a dilution series of
target molecules and the signal response was fitted to an absorption
model. We found that significant variance of the signal could be
controlled by averaging across probes and removing probes that are
nonresponsive. Thus, a more reliable signal could be obtained using our
procedure than conventional approaches. We suggest that once an array is
properly calibrated, absolute quantification of signals becomes straight
forward, alleviating the need for normalization and reference
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: New gene emergence is so far assumed to be mostly driven by duplication and divergence of existing genes. The possibility that entirely new genes could emerge out of the non-coding genomic background was long thought to be almost negligible. With the increasing availability of fully sequenced genomes across broad scales of phylogeny, it has become possible to systematically study the origin of new genes over time and thus revisit this question. RESULTS: We have used phylostratigraphy to assess trends of gene evolution across successive phylogenetic phases, using mostly the well-annotated mouse genome as a reference. We find several significant general trends and confirm them for three other vertebrate genomes (humans, zebrafish and stickleback). Younger genes are shorter, both with respect to gene length, as well as to open reading frame length. They contain also fewer exons and have fewer recognizable domains. Average exon length, on the other hand, does not change much over time. Only the most recently evolved genes have longer exons and they are often associated with active promotor regions, i.e. are part of bidirectional promotors. We have also revisited the possibility that de novo evolution of genes could occur even within existing genes, by making use of an alternative reading frame (overprinting). We find several cases among the annotated Ensembl ORFs, where the new reading frame has emerged at a higher phylostratigraphic level than the original one. We discuss some of these overprinted genes, which include also the Hoxa9 gene where an alternative reading frame covering the homeobox has emerged within the lineage leading to rodents and primates (Euarchontoglires). CONCLUSIONS: We suggest that the overall trends of gene emergence are more compatible with a de novo evolution model for orphan genes than a general duplication-divergence model. Hence de novo evolution of genes appears to have occurred continuously throughout evolutionary time and should therefore be considered as a general mechanism for the emergence of new gene functions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the last two decades, the widespread application of genetic and genomic approaches has revealed a bacterial world astonishing in its ubiquity and diversity. This review examines how a growing knowledge of the vast range of animal-bacterial interactions, whether in shared ecosystems or intimate symbioses, is fundamentally altering our understanding of animal biology. Specifically, we highlight recent technological and intellectual advances that have changed our thinking about five questions: how have bacteria facilitated the origin and evolution of animals; how do animals and bacteria affect each other's genomes; how does normal animal development depend on bacterial partners; how is homeostasis maintained between animals and their symbionts; and how can ecological approaches deepen our understanding of the multiple levels of animal-bacterial interaction. As answers to these fundamental questions emerge, all biologists will be challenged to broaden their appreciation of these interactions and to include investigations of the relationships between and among bacteria and their animal partners as we seek a better understanding of the natural world.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2013; · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hybridization of nucleic acids on solid surfaces is a key process involved in high-throughput technologies such as microarrays and, in some cases, next-generation sequencing (NGS). A physical understanding of the hybridization process helps to determine the accuracy of these technologies. The goal of a widespread research program is to develop reliable transformations between the raw signals reported by the technologies and individual molecular concentrations from an ensemble of nucleic acids. This research has inputs from many areas, from bioinformatics and biostatistics, to theoretical and experimental biochemistry and biophysics, to computer simulations. A group of leading researchers met in Ploen Germany in 2011 to discuss present knowledge and limitations of our physico-chemical understanding of high-throughput nucleic acid technologies. This meeting inspired us to write this summary, which provides an overview of the state-of-the-art approaches based on physico-chemical foundation to modeling of the nucleic acids hybridization process on solid surfaces. In addition, practical application of current knowledge is emphasized.
Nucleic Acids Research 01/2013; · 8.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Island colonizations are excellent models for studying early processes of evolution. We found in a previous study on mice that had colonized the sub-Antarctic Kerguelen Archipelago about 200 years ago that they were derived from a single founder lineage and that this showed an unexpectedly large number of new mutations in the mitochondrial D-loop. To assess whether positive selection has played a role in the emergence of these variants, we have obtained 16 full mitochondrial genome sequences from these mice. For comparison, we have compiled 57 mitochondrial genome sequences from laboratory inbred lines that became established about 100 years ago, also starting from a single founder lineage. We find that the island mice and the laboratory lines show very similar mutation frequencies and patterns. None of the patterns in the Kerguelen mice provides evidence for positive selection. We conclude that nearly neutral evolutionary processes that assume the presence of slightly deleterious variants can fully explain the patterns. This supports the notion of time-dependency of molecular evolution and provides a new calibration point. Based on the observed mutation frequency, we calculate an average evolutionary rate of 0.23 substitutions per site per Myr for the earliest time frame of divergence, which is about six times higher than the long-term rate of 0.037 substitutions per site per Myr.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: General parameters of selection, such as the frequency and strength of positive selection in natural populations or the role of introgression, are still insufficiently understood. The house mouse (Mus musculus) is a particularly well-suited model system to approach such questions, since it has a defined history of splits into subspecies and populations and since extensive genome information is available. We have used high-density single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) typing arrays to assess genomic patterns of positive selection and introgression of alleles in two natural populations of each of the subspecies M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus. Applying different statistical procedures, we find a large number of regions subject to apparent selective sweeps, indicating frequent positive selection on rare alleles or novel mutations. Genes in the regions include well-studied imprinted loci (e.g. Plagl1/Zac1), homologues of human genes involved in adaptations (e.g. alpha-amylase genes) or in genetic diseases (e.g. Huntingtin and Parkin). Haplotype matching between the two subspecies reveals a large number of haplotypes that show patterns of introgression from specific populations of the respective other subspecies, with at least 10% of the genome being affected by partial or full introgression. Using neutral simulations for comparison, we find that the size and the fraction of introgressed haplotypes are not compatible with a pure migration or incomplete lineage sorting model. Hence, it appears that introgressed haplotypes can rise in frequency due to positive selection and thus can contribute to the adaptive genomic landscape of natural populations. Our data support the notion that natural genomes are subject to complex adaptive processes, including the introgression of haplotypes from other differentiated populations or species at a larger scale than previously assumed for animals. This implies that some of the admixture found in inbred strains of mice may also have a natural origin.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interest in the placing of landmarks and subsequent morphometric analyses of shape for 3D data has increased with the increasing accessibility of computed tomography (CT) scanners. However, current computer programs for this task suffer from various practical drawbacks. We present here a free software tool that overcomes many of these problems.
The TINA Manual Landmarking Tool was developed for the digitization of 3D data sets. It enables the generation of a modifiable 3D volume rendering display plus matching orthogonal 2D cross-sections from DICOM files. The object can be rotated and axes defined and fixed. Predefined lists of landmarks can be loaded and the landmarks identified within any of the representations. Output files are stored in various established formats, depending on the preferred evaluation software.
The software tool presented here provides several options facilitating the placing of landmarks on 3D objects, including volume rendering from DICOM files, definition and fixation of meaningful axes, easy import, placement, control, and export of landmarks, and handling of large datasets. The TINA Manual Landmark Tool runs under Linux and can be obtained for free from http://www.tina-vision.net/tarballs/.
Frontiers in Zoology 04/2012; 9(1):6. · 3.87 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene evolution has long been thought to be primarily driven by duplication and rearrangement mechanisms. However, every evolutionary lineage harbours orphan genes that lack homologues in other lineages and whose evolutionary origin is only poorly understood. Orphan genes might arise from duplication and rearrangement processes followed by fast divergence; however, de novo evolution out of non-coding genomic regions is emerging as an important additional mechanism. This process appears to provide raw material continuously for the evolution of new gene functions, which can become relevant for lineage-specific adaptations.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sequence analysis of the Daphnia pulex genome holds some surprises that could not have been anticipated from what was learned so far from other arthropod genomes. It establishes Daphnia as an eco-genetical model organism par excellence.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Homoploid hybridization after secondary contact between related species can lead to mixtures of genotypes which have the potential for rapid adaptation to new environmental conditions. Here, we focus on a case where anthropogenic changes within the past 200 years have allowed the hybridization between two fish species (Cottus rhenanus and Cottus perifretum) in the Netherlands. Specifically, we address the question of the dynamics of the emergence of these hybrids and invasion of the river systems. Using a set of 81 mostly ancestry-informative SNP markers, as well as broad sample coverage in and around the area of the initial contact, we find a structured hybrid swarm with at least three distinct hybrid lineages that have emerged out of this secondary contact situation. We show that genetically coherent groups can occur at geographically distant locations, while geographically adjacent groups can be genetically different, indicating that some form of reproductive isolation between the lineages is already effective. Using a newly developed modelling approach, we test the relative influence of founding admixture, drift and migration on the allele compositions of the sampling sites. We find that the allele frequency distributions can best be explained if continued gene flow between the parental species and the hybrid lineages is invoked. Genome mapping of the invasive lineage in the Rhine shows that major chromosomal rearrangements were not involved in creating this distinct lineage. Our results show that hybridization after secondary contact can quickly lead to multiple independent new lineages that have the capacity to form hybrid species.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expectations of repeatedly finding associations between given genes and phenotypes have been borne out by studies of parallel evolution, especially for traits involving absence or presence of characters. However, it has rarely been asked whether the genetic basis of quantitative trait variation is conserved at the intra- or even at the interspecific level. This question is especially relevant for shape, where the high dimensionality of variation seems to require a highly complex genetic architecture involving many genes.
We analyse here the genetic effects of chromosome substitution strains carrying M. m. musculus chromosomes in a largely M. m. domesticus background on mandible shape and compare them to the results of previously published QTL mapping data between M. m. domesticus strains. We find that the distribution of genetic effects and effect sizes across the genome is consistent between the studies, while the specific shape changes associated with the chromosomes are different. We find also that the sum of the effects from the different M. m. musculus chromosomes is very different from the shape of the strain from which they were derived, as well as all known wild type shapes.
Our results suggest that the relative chromosome-wide effect sizes are comparable between the long separated subspecies M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus, hinting at a relative stability of genes involved in this complex trait. However, the absolute effect sizes and the effect directions may be allele-dependent, or are context dependent, i.e. epistatic interactions appear to play an important role in controlling shape.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insights into the micro-evolutionary patterns of morphological traits require an assessment of the natural variation of the trait within and between populations and closely related species. The mouse mandible is a particularly suitable morphological trait for such an analysis, since it has long been used as a model to study the quantitative genetics of shape. In addition, many distinct populations, sub-species and closely related species are known for the house mouse. However, morphological comparisons among wild caught animals require an assessment in how far environmental and technical factors could interfere with the shape change measurements.
Using geometric morphometrics, we have surveyed mandible shapes in 15 natural populations of the genus Mus, with a focus on the subspecies Mus musculus domesticus. In parallel we have carefully assessed possibly confounding technical and biological factors. We find that there are distinct differences on average between populations, subspecies and species, but these differences are smaller than differences between individuals within populations. Populations from summer-dry regions, although more ancestral, are less distinct from each other than are populations from the more recently colonized northern areas. Populations with especially distinct shapes occur in an area of sympatry of M. m. domesticus and M. spretus and on recently colonized sub-antarctic islands. We have also studied a number of inbred strains to assess in how far their mandible shapes resemble those from the wild. We find that they fall indeed into the shape space of natural variation between individuals in populations.
Although mandible shapes in natural populations can be influenced by environmental variables, these influences are insufficient to explain the average extent of shape differences between populations, such that evolutionary processes must be invoked to explain this level of diversity. We discuss that adaptive evolution may contribute to shape changes between populations, in particular in newly colonized areas. A comparison between inbred strains and wild mice suggests that the laboratory environment has no major systematic effect on the mandible shape and that such strains can be used as representatives of the natural shape differences between individuals.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parallels between phylogeny and ontogeny have been discussed for almost two centuries, and a number of theories have been proposed to explain such patterns. Especially elusive is the phylotypic stage, a phase during development where species within a phylum are particularly similar to each other. Although this has formerly been interpreted as a recapitulation of phylogeny, it is now thought to reflect an ontogenetic progression phase, where strong constraints on developmental regulation and gene interactions exist. Several studies have shown that genes expressed during this stage evolve at a slower rate, but it has so far not been possible to derive an unequivocal molecular signature associated with this stage. Here we use a combination of phylostratigraphy and stage-specific gene expression data to generate a cumulative index that reflects the evolutionary age of the transcriptome at given ontogenetic stages. Using zebrafish ontogeny and adult development as a model, we find that the phylotypic stage does indeed express the oldest transcriptome set and that younger sets are expressed during early and late development, thus faithfully mirroring the hourglass model of morphological divergence. Reproductively active animals show the youngest transcriptome, with major differences between males and females. Notably, ageing animals express increasingly older genes. Comparisons with similar data sets from flies and nematodes show that this pattern occurs across phyla. Our results indicate that an old transcriptome marks the phylotypic phase and that phylogenetic differences at other ontogenetic stages correlate with the expression of newly evolved genes.