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Data from: Transcriptome-wide differential gene expression in Bicyclus anynana butterflies: female vision-related genes are more plastic

Citation

Macias-Muñoz, Aide; Smith, Gilbert; Monteiro, Antónia; Briscoe, Adriana D. (2015), Data from: Transcriptome-wide differential gene expression in Bicyclus anynana butterflies: female vision-related genes are more plastic, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.f98s6

Abstract

cave-adapted species down-regulate the expression of vision genes or even lose their eyes and associated eye genes entirely. Alternatively, organisms that live in fluctuating environments, with different requirements for vision at different times, may evolve phenotypic plasticity for expression of vision genes. Here we use a global transcriptomic and candidate gene approach to compare gene expression in the heads of a polyphenic butterfly. Bicyclus anynana have two seasonal forms that display sexual dimorphism and plasticity in eye morphology, and female-specific plasticity in opsin gene expression. Non-choosy dry season females down-regulate opsin expression, consistent with the high physiological cost of vision. To identify other genes associated with sexually dimorphic and seasonally plastic differences in vision we analyzed RNA-Sequencing data from whole head tissues. We identified two eye development genes (klarsicht and warts homologs) and an eye pigment biosynthesis gene (henna) differentially expressed between seasonal forms. By comparing sex-specific expression across seasonal forms, we found that klarsicht, warts, henna, and another eye development gene (domeless) were plastic in a female-specific manner. In a male-only analysis, white (w) was differentially expressed between seasonal forms. RT-PCR confirmed that warts and white are expressed in eyes only, whereas klarsicht, henna and domeless are expressed in both eyes and brain. We find that differential expression of eye development and eye pigment genes is associated with divergent eye phenotypes in B. anynana seasonal forms, and that there is a larger effect of season on female vision-related genes.

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