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Data from: Gene expression plasticity and desert adaptation in house mice

Cite this dataset

Bittner, Noelle; Mack, Katya; Nachman, Michael (2021). Data from: Gene expression plasticity and desert adaptation in house mice [Dataset]. Dryad.


Understanding how organisms adapt to new environments is a key problem in evolution, yet it remains unclear whether phenotypic plasticity generally facilitates or hinders this process. Here we studied evolved and plastic responses to water-stress in lab-born descendants of wild house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) collected from desert and non-desert environments and measured gene expression and organismal phenotypes under control and water-stressed conditions. After many generations in the lab, desert mice consumed significantly less water than mice from other localities, indicating that this difference has a genetic basis. Under water-stress, desert mice maintained more weight than non-desert mice, and exhibited differences in blood chemistry related to osmoregulatory function. Gene expression in the kidney revealed evolved differences between mice from different environments as well as plastic responses between hydrated and dehydrated mice. Desert mice showed reduced expression plasticity under water-stress compared to non-desert mice. Importantly, non-desert mice under water-stress generally showed shifts towards desert-like expression, consistent with adaptive plasticity. Finally, we identify several co-expression modules linked to phenotypes of interest. These findings provide evidence for local adaptation after a recent invasion and suggest that adaptive plasticity may have facilitated colonization of the desert environment.

Usage notes

Phenotype data associated with study on plastic and evolved responses to water stress in Mus musculus. Files contain 1) water consumption measurements from inbred lines derived from five populations of North American house mice in a controlled lab environment and 2) phenotype data measured from control and water stressed treatment mice. 


National Science Foundation, Award: 1601827

National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Award: R01 GM127468

National Science Foundation, Award: ACI-1548562