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Data from: Effect of the early social environment on behavioural and genomic responses to a social challenge in a cooperatively breeding vertebrate

Citation

Nyman, Cecilia; Fischer, Stefan; Aubin-Horth, Nadia; Taborsky, Barbara (2017), Data from: Effect of the early social environment on behavioural and genomic responses to a social challenge in a cooperatively breeding vertebrate, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9c2j1

Abstract

The early social environment can have substantial, lifelong effects on vertebrate social behaviour, which can be mediated by developmental plasticity of brain gene expression. Early life effects can influence immediate behavioural responses towards later-life social challenges and can activate different gene expression responses. However, while genomic responses to social challenges have been reported frequently, how developmental experience influences the shape of these genomic reaction norms remains largely unexplored. We tested how manipulating the early social environment of juvenile, cooperatively-breeding cichlids, Neolamprologus pulcher, affects their behavioural and brain genomic responses when competing over a resource. Juveniles were reared either with or without a breeder pair and a helper. Fish reared with family members behaved more appropriately in the competition than when reared without. We investigated whether the different social rearing environments also affected the genomic responses to the social challenge. A set of candidate genes, coding for hormones and receptors influencing social behaviour, were measured in the telencephalon and hypothalamus. Social environment and social challenge both influenced gene expression of egr-1 (early growth response 1) and gr1 (glucocorticoid receptor 1) in the telencephalon and of bdnf (brain derived neurotrophic factor) in the hypothalamus. A global analysis of the 11 expression patterns in the two brain areas showed that neurogenomic states diverged more strongly between intruder fish and control fish when they had been reared in a natural social setting. Our results show that same molecular pathways may be used differently in response to a social challenge depending on early life experiences.

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