Data from: Paternal epigenetic effects of population density on locust phase-related characteristics associated with heat-shock protein expression
Chen, Bing et al. (2015), Data from: Paternal epigenetic effects of population density on locust phase-related characteristics associated with heat-shock protein expression, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.88606
Many species exhibit transgenerational plasticity by which environmental cues experienced by either parent can be transmitted to their offspring, resulting in phenotypic variants in offspring to match ancestral environments. However, the manner by which paternal experiences affect offspring plasticity through epigenetic inheritance in animals generally remains unclear. In this study, we examined the transgenerational effects of population density on phase-related traits in the migratory locust Locusta migratoria. Using an experimental design that explicitly controls genetic background, we found that the effects of crowd or isolation rearing on phase plasticity could be inherited to the offspring. The isolation of gregarious locusts resulted in reduced weight in offspring eggs and altered morphometric traits in hatchlings, whereas crowding of solitarious locusts exhibited opposite effects. The consequences of density changes were transmitted by both maternal and paternal inheritance, although the expression of paternal effects was not as pronounced as that of maternal effects. Prominent expression of heat-shock proteins (Hsps), such as Hsp90, Hsp70, and Hsp20.6, could be triggered by density changes. Hsps were significantly upregulated upon crowding but downregulated upon isolation. The variation in parental Hsp expression was also transmitted to the offspring, in which the pattern of inheritance was consistent with that of phase characteristics. These results revealed a paternal effect on phase polyphenism and Hsp expression induced by population density, and defined a model system that could be used to study the paternal epigenetic inheritance of environmental changes.