Phenotypic and genomic plasticity of alternative male reproductive tactics in sailfin mollies

Fraser, Bonnie A, Janowitz, Ilana, Thairu, Margaret, Travis, Joseph and Hughes, Kimberly A (2014) Phenotypic and genomic plasticity of alternative male reproductive tactics in sailfin mollies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281. p. 20132310. ISSN 0962-8452

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A major goal of modern evolutionary biology is to understand the causes and consequences of phenotypic plasticity, the ability of a single genotype to produce multiple phenotypes in response to variable environments. While ecological and quantitative genetic studies have evaluated models of the evol- ution of adaptive plasticity, some long-standing questions about plasticity require more mechanistic approaches. Here, we address two of those questions: does plasticity facilitate adaptive evolution? And do physiological costs place limits on plasticity? We examine these questions by comparing genetically and plastically regulated behavioural variation in sailfin mollies (Poecilia latipinna), which exhibit striking variation in plasticity for male mating behav- iour. In this species, some genotypes respond plastically to a change in the social environment by switching between primarily courting and primarily sneaking behaviour. In contrast, other genotypes have fixed mating strategies (either courting or sneaking) and do not display plasticity. We found that gen- etic and plastic variation in behaviour were accompanied by partially, but not completely overlapping changes in brain gene expression, in partial support of models that predict that plasticity can facilitate adaptive evolution. We also found that behavioural plasticity was accompanied by broader and more robust changes in brain gene expression, suggesting a substantial physiological cost to plasticity. We also observed that sneaking behaviour, but not courting, was associated with upregulation of genes involved in learning and memory, suggesting that sneaking is more cognitively demanding than courtship.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: plasticity, Poecilia latipinna, transcriptome, mating behaviour, courtship
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0301 Biology > QH0359 Evolution
Depositing User: Bonnie Fraser
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2016 10:41
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2017 05:30

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