Data from: Divergence of cuticular hydrocarbons in two sympatric grasshopper species and the evolution of fatty acid synthases and elongases across insects
Finck, Jonas et al. (2017), Data from: Divergence of cuticular hydrocarbons in two sympatric grasshopper species and the evolution of fatty acid synthases and elongases across insects, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5qn13
Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) play a major role in the evolution of reproductive isolation between insect species. The CHC profiles of two closely related sympatric grasshopper species, Chorthippus biguttulus and C. mollis, differ mainly in the position of the first methyl group in major methyl-branched CHCs. The position of methyl branches is determined either by a fatty acid synthase (FAS) or by elongases. Both protein families showed an expansion in insects. Interestingly, the FAS family showed several lineage-specific expansions, especially in insect orders with highly diverse methyl-branched CHC profiles. We found five putative FASs and 12 putative elongases in the reference transcriptomes for both species. A dN/dS test showed no evidence for positive selection acting on FASs and elongases in these grasshoppers. However, one candidate FAS showed species-specific transcriptional differences and may contribute to the shift of the methyl-branch position between the species. In addition, transcript levels of four elongases were expressed differentially between the sexes. Our study indicates that complex methyl-branched CHC profiles are linked to an expansion of FASs genes, but that species differences can also mediated at the transcriptional level.