[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genotype-phenotype (GP) map consists of developmental and physiological mechanisms mapping genetic onto phenotypic variation. It determines the distribution of heritable phenotypic variance on which selection can act. Comparative studies of morphology as well as of gene regulatory networks show that the GP map itself evolves, yet little is known about the actual evolutionary mechanisms involved. The study of such mechanisms requires exploring the variation in GP maps at the population level, which presently is easier to quantify by statistical genetic methods rather than by regulatory network structures. We focus on the evolution of pleiotropy, a major structural aspect of the GP map. Pleiotropic genes affect multiple traits and underlie genetic covariance between traits, often causing evolutionary constraints. Previous quantitative genetic studies have demonstrated population-level variation in pleiotropy in the form of loci, at which genotypes differ in the genetic covariation between traits. This variation can potentially fuel evolution of the GP map under selection and/or drift. Here, we propose a developmental mechanism underlying population genetic variation in covariance and test its predictions. Specifically, the mechanism predicts that the loci identified as responsible for genetic variation in pleiotropy are involved in trait-specific epistatic interactions. We test this prediction for loci affecting allometric relationships between traits in an advanced intercross between inbred mouse strains. The results consistently support the prediction. We further find a high degree of sign epistasis in these interactions, which we interpret as an indication of adaptive gene complexes within the diverged parental lines.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B Molecular and Developmental Evolution
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies on the LG,SM advanced intercross line have identified approximately 40 quantitative trait loci (QTL) for long -bone (humerus, ulna, femur, and tibia) lengths. In this study, long-bone-length QTL were fine-mapped in the F(34) generation (n = 1424) of the LG,SM advanced intercross. Environmental effects were assessed by dividing the population by sex between high-fat and low-fat diets, producing eight sex/diet cohorts. We identified 145 individual bone-length QTL comprising 45 pleiotropic QTL; 69 replicated QTL from previous studies, 35 were new traits significant at previously identified loci, and 41 were novel QTL. Many QTL affected only a subset of the population based on sex and/or diet. Eight of ten known skeletal growth genes were upregulated in 3-week-old LG/J male proximal tibial growth plates relative to SM/J. The sequences of parental strains LG/J and SM/J indicated the presence of over half a million polymorphisms in the confidence intervals of these 45 QTL. We examined 526 polymorphisms and found that 97 represented radical changes to amino acid composition while 40 were predicted to be deleterious to protein function. Additional experimentation is required to understand how changes in gene regulation or protein function can alter the genetic architecture and interact with the environment to produce phenotypic variation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: If we wish to understand whether development influences the rate or direction of morphological evolution, we must first understand the developmental bases of morphological variation within species. However, quantitative variation in adult morphology is the product of molecular and cellular processes unfolding from embryonic development through juvenile growth to maturity. The Atchley-Hall model provides a useful framework for dissecting complex morphologies into their component parts as a way of determining which developmental processes contribute to variation in adult form. We have examined differences in postnatal allometry and the patterns of genetic correlation between age-specific traits for ten recombinant inbred strains of mice generated from an intercross of LG/J and SM/J. Long bone length is closely tied to body size, but variation in adult morphology is more closely tied to differences in growth rate between 3 and 5 weeks of age. These analyses show that variation generated during early development is overridden by variation generated later in life. To more precisely determine the cellular processes generating this variation we then examined the cellular dynamics of long bone growth plates at the time of maximum elongation rate differences in the parent strains. Our analyses revealed that variation in long bone length is the result of faster elongation rates of the LG/J stain. The developmental bases for these differences in growth rate involve the rate of cell division and chondrocyte hypertrophy in the growth plate.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B Molecular and Developmental Evolution
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously mapped Adip1, an obesity quantitative trait locus (QTL), to the central portion of murine chromosome 1 containing the calpain-10 (Capn10) gene. Human studies have associated calpain-10 (CAPN10) variants with type 2 diabetes and various metabolic traits. We performed a quantitative hybrid complementation test (QHCT) to determine whether differences attributed to Adip1 are the result of variant Capn10 alleles in LG/J and SM/J mice. We crossed LG/J and SM/J to wild-type (C57BL/6J) and Capn10 knockout (Capn10(-/-)) mice to form four F(1) hybrid groups: LG/J by wild-type, LG/J by Capn10(-/-), SM/J by wild-type, and SM/J by Capn10(-/-). We performed a two-way ANOVA with the experimental strain, tester strain, and their interaction as the factors. Significant interaction indicates a quantitative failure to complement. We found failure to complement for fat, organ, and body weights, and leptin, female free fatty acid, and triglyceride levels. Capn10(-/-) resulted in heavier weights and higher serum levels in LG/J crosses but not in SM/J crosses. For glucose tolerance and insulin response tests, the Capn10(-/-) allele resulted in lower glucose levels in crosses with SM/J but had no effect in the LG/J crosses. Differences between the LG/J and SM/J Capn10 alleles are the likely source of some of the QTL effects mapped to Adip1 in the LG/J-by-SM/J cross. Capn10 plays an important role in regulating obesity and diabetes in mice.
No preview · Article · May 2010 · The Journal of Lipid Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously mapped an obesity quantitative trait locus (QTL), Adip1, to the central portion of murine chromosome 1 which contains the calpain-10 (Capn10) gene. Human studies have associated calpain-10 (CAPN10) variants with type 2 diabetes and various metabolic traits. We performed a quantitative hybrid complementation test to determine whether differences attributed to Adip1 are due to variant Capn10 alleles in LG/J and SM/J mice. We crossed LG/J and SM/J to wild-type (C57BL/6J) and Capn10 knockout (Capn10-/-) mice to form four F1 hybrid groups; LG/J by wild-type (N = 76), LG/J by Capn10-/- (N = 116), SM/J by wild-type (N = 79), and SM/J by Capn10-/-(N = 64). We performed a two-way ANOVA with experimental strain, tester strain, and their interaction as the factors. Significant interaction indicates a quantitative failure to complement. We found failure to complement for fat, organ, and body weights, and leptin, female free fatty acid and triglyceride levels. Capn10-/- resulted in heavier weights and higher serum levels in LG/J crosses but not in SM/J crosses. Failure to complement was also found for glucose tolerance and insulin response tests. Here, the Capn10-/- allele results in lower glucose levels in crosses with SM/J but had no effect in the LG/J crosses. Differences between the LG/J and SM/J Capn10 alleles are the likely source of some of the QTL effects mapped to Adip1 in the LG/J by SM/J cross and Capn10 plays an important role in regulating obesity and diabetes in mice.
No preview · Article · May 2009 · The Journal of Lipid Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping techniques are frequently used to identify genomic regions associated with variation in phenotypes of interest. However, the F(2) intercross and congenic strain populations usually employed have limited genetic resolution resulting in relatively large confidence intervals that greatly inhibit functional confirmation of statistical results. Here we use the increased resolution of the combined F(9) and F(10) generations (n = 1455) of the LG,SM advanced intercross to fine-map previously identified QTL associated with the lengths of the humerus, ulna, femur, and tibia. We detected 81 QTL affecting long-bone lengths. Of these, 49 were previously identified in the combined F(2)-F(3) population of this intercross, while 32 represent novel contributors to trait variance. Pleiotropy analysis suggests that most QTL affect three to four long bones or serially homologous limb segments. We also identified 72 epistatic interactions involving 38 QTL and 88 novel regions. This analysis shows that using later generations of an advanced intercross greatly facilitates fine-mapping of confidence intervals, resolving three F(2)-F(3) QTL into multiple linked loci and narrowing confidence intervals of other loci, as well as allowing identification of additional QTL. Further characterization of the biological bases of these QTL will help provide a better understanding of the genetics of small variations in long-bone length.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Study of mutations with large phenotypic effects has allowed the identification of key players in skeletal development. However, the molecular nature of variation in large, phenotypically normal populations tends to be characterized by smaller phenotypic effects that remain undefined.
We use interval mapping and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping techniques in the combined F2-F3 populations (n = 2111) of an LG/J x SM/J mouse intercross to detect QTLs associated with the lengths of the humerus, ulna, femur, and tibia.
Seventy individual trait QTLs affecting long bone lengths were detected, with several chromosomes harboring multiple QTLs. The genetic architecture suggests mainly small, additive effects on long bone length, with roughly one third of the QTLs displaying dominance. Sex interactions were common, and four sex-specific QTLs were observed. Pleiotropy could not be rejected for most of the QTLs identified. Thirty-one epistatic interactions were detected, almost all affecting regions including or immediately adjacent to QTLs.
A complex regulatory network with many gene interactions modulates bone growth, possibly with integrated skeletal modules that allow fine-tuning of developmental processes present. Candidate genes in the QTL CIs include many genes known to affect endochondral bone growth and genes that have not yet been associated with bone growth or body size but have a strong potential to influence these traits.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2008 · Journal of bone and mineral research: the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Quantitative trait locus (QTL) studies of a skeletal trait or a few related skeletal components are becoming commonplace, but as yet there has been no investigation of pleiotropic patterns throughout the skeleton. We present a comprehensive survey of pleiotropic patterns affecting mouse skeletal morphology in an intercross of LG/J and SM/J inbred strains (N = 1040), using QTL analysis on 70 skeletal traits. We identify 798 single-trait QTL, coalescing to 105 loci that affect on average 7-8 traits each. The number of traits affected per locus ranges from only 1 trait to 30 traits. Individual traits average 11 QTL each, ranging from 4 to 20. Skeletal traits are affected by many, small-effect loci. Significant additive genotypic values average 0.23 standard deviation (SD) units. Fifty percent of loci show codominance with heterozygotes having intermediate phenotypic values. When dominance does occur, the LG/J allele tends to be dominant to the SM/J allele (30% vs. 8%). Over- and underdominance are relatively rare (12%). Approximately one-fifth of QTL are sex specific, including many for pelvic traits. Evaluating the pleiotropic relationships of skeletal traits is important in understanding the role of genetic variation in the growth and development of the skeleton.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pleiotropy is an aspect of genetic architecture underlying the phenotypic covariance structure. The presence of genetic variation in pleiotropy is necessary for natural selection to shape patterns of covariation between traits. We examined the contribution of differential epistasis to variation in the intertrait relationship and the nature of this variation. Genetic variation in pleiotropy was revealed by mapping quantitative trait loci (QTLs) affecting the allometry of mouse limb and tail length relative to body weight in the mouse-inbred strain LG/J by SM/J intercross. These relationship QTLs (rQTLs) modify relationships between the traits affected by a common pleiotropic locus. We detected 11 rQTLs, mostly affecting allometry of multiple bones. We further identified epistatic interactions responsible for the observed allometric variation. Forty loci that interact epistatically with the detected rQTLs were identified. We demonstrate how these epistatic interactions differentially affect the body size variance and the covariance of traits with body size. We conclude that epistasis, by differentially affecting both the canalization and mean values of the traits of a pleiotropic domain, causes variation in the covariance structure. Variation in pleiotropy maintains evolvability of the genetic architecture, in particular the evolvability of its modular organization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Do body size components, such as weights of internal organs and long bone lengths, with different functions and different developmental histories also have different genetic architectures and pleiotropic patterns? We examine murine quantitative trait loci (QTL) for necropsy weight, four long bone lengths, and four organ weights in the LG/J x SM/J intercross. Differences between trait categories were found in number of QTL, dominance, and pleiotropic patterns. Ninety-seven QTLs for individual traits were identified: 52 for long bone lengths, 30 for organ weights, and 15 for necropsy weight. Results for long bones are typically more highly significant than for organs. Organ weights were more frequently over- or underdominant than long bone lengths or necropsy weight. The single-trait QTLs map to 35 pleiotropic loci. Long bones are much more frequently affected in groups while organs tend to be affected singly or in pairs. Organs and long bones are found at the same locus in only 11 cases, 8 of which also include necropsy weight. Our results suggest mainly separate genetic modules for organ weights and long bone lengths, with a few loci that affect overall body size. Antagonistic pleiotropy, in which a locus has opposite effects on different characteristics, is uncommon.