In an era of unprecedented global change, exploring patterns of gene expression among wild populations across their geographic range is crucial for characterizing adaptive potential. However, few of these studies have identified transcriptomic signatures to multivariate, environmental stimuli among populations in their natural environments. In this study, Fraik et al. identified environmental and sex-driven patterns of gene expression in the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), a critically endangered species that occupies a heterogeneous environment. No transcriptome-wide patterns of differential gene expression were detected, consistent with previous studies that documented low levels of genetic variation in the species. However, genes previously implicated in local adaptation (Fraik et al. 2019, Biorxiv) to abiotic environment in devils were enriched for differentially expressed genes. Additionally, modules of co-expressed genes were significantly associated with both geographic location and sex. This study revealed that candidate-gene approaches to transcriptomic studies of naturally sampled wildlife populations may be necessary to capture gene expression changes in response to complex multivariate environments.
Fraik, A.K., Quackenbush, C., Margres, M.J., Comte, S., Hamilton, D.G., Kozakiewicz, C.P., Jones, M., Hamede, R., Hohenlohe, P.A., Storfer, A., Kelley, J.L. Transcriptomics of tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) ear tissue reveals homogeneous gene expression patterns across a heterogeneous landscape. Genes 2019, 10, 801. *Corresponding author
Congratulations to Shawn Trojahn and Kerry McGowan for receiving the WSU NASA Space Grant Fellowship! Shawn’s project will be studying muscle atrophy and serum factors involved in reduced muscle atrophy. Kerry will be studying the regulation of hydrogen sulfide and evolution of related transcription factor binding sites.
We are all very excited that Luana Lins, a postdoctoral researcher in our lab, has been selected to be part the NSF Advanced Training Program in Antarctica for Early Career Scientists (https://www.usfca.edu/arts-sciences/antarctic-biology-training-program).
She will spend a month in Antarctica as part of the program where researchers will get involved in research projects and will be more knowledgeable of the logistics of conducting studies in this unique environment. Luana Lins is following on the footsteps of our PI Joanna Kelley who participated in the same program in 2008, and her PI Willie Swanson who participated several years before that.
Our lab is very interested in adaptations to extreme environments and Luana is working in a project focused on the adaptations of fish to polar environments, Luana’s training will be great to the development of our polar adaptations project. She will be posting about her preparations and experiences in Antarctica at her blog (https://www.drluanalins.com/blog).
Here’s a nice write-up from WSU (https://news.wsu.edu/2018/03/09/visiting-antarctica/)
The lab (and many labs from WSU) are going to Evolution 2017! See you there? If you’re interested in finding out more about our research we have several talks and posters. You can find us at the following:
|Laura Helou (poster)||Saturday||6:30-8:30 PM||Bioinformatics||EHA-04|
|Shawn Trojahn (poster)||Saturday||6:30-8:30 PM||Phylogenomics||EHA-31|
|Anthony Brown||Sunday||8:45 AM||Inbreeding / conservation biology||B114-115|
|Enrique J-S||Sunday||3:30 PM||Sex / recombination 3||Ball204|
|Alex Fraik||Sunday||3:45 PM||Adaptation / genomics 4||B117-119|
|Omar Cornejo||Sunday||4:00 PM||Disease||A106|
|Carlie Harding (poster)||Sunday||6:30-8:30 PM||Genomics||EHA-14|
|Luana Lins||Monday||10:30 AM||Molecular ecology / genomics||C124|
|Joel Nelson||Monday||11:00 AM||Molecular ecology / genomics||C124|
|Joanna Kelley||Monday||3:15 PM||SSE Symposium – The impact of stress on genetic variation 2||Ball203|
Note, I have added links to YouTube videos from the Evolution Meeting channel for the talks that were recorded, just click on the presenter’s name.
Just returned from Poeciliid 2017 in Norman, OK. It was a fantastic meeting! The organizers Ingo Schlupp and Edie Marsh-Matthews did a fantastic job planning the meeting. The meeting was small and intimate, with only one session at a time, which was the perfect opportunity to connect with other poeciliid biologists. The topics were varied and ranged from genomics to behavior to phylogenetics to nutrient transfer. The participants ranged from new graduate students to senior faculty members, which made for a great mix of experiences, ideas and knowledge. There was ample time for sharing ideas and, at least for me, it was one of the best meetings I have attended in a while! I will definitely attended the next meeting (likely 2019) and I encourage everyone who is tangentially involved in poeciliid research to attend too!
It has been an exciting spring in the lab! We wanted to acknowledge the awards that several students and postdocs received this spring.
Anthony Brown received the James R. King Graduate Fellowship from the School of Biological Sciences to fund his research and part of his stipend this summer!
Joanna Kelley received the College of Arts and Sciences Early Career Award!
Luana Lins received a scholarship to the Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics at University of Washington this summer and a travel award from the Society for the Study of Evolution to attend Evolution 2017!
Samantha Kallinen received the Undergraduate Summer Minigrant from the College of Arts and Sciences to support her research over the summer!
Allegra Sundstrom received the Youth Activity Fund award from the Explorer’s Club and a School of Biological Sciences research award to conduct research in Alaska this summer!
Congratulations to Shawn for receiving the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)! We are thrilled for Shawn. This is a fantastic testament to his accomplishments and promise as a graduate student!
“The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based Master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions… For the 2017 competition, NSF received over 13,000 applications, and made 2,000 award offers.” from https://www.nsfgrfp.org/.
Laura has arrived from France! We are very excited to have Laura visiting the lab for 5 months to work on detecting and annotating transposable elements in extreme species!
Laura obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology at the Montpellier University (France) and now she is in the last year of a Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics at the same university. During her master’s degree she has done two internships and developed a strong interest for comparative genomics and the impact of structural variation on the evolution of species. She worked on benchmarking of several tools for the detection of structural variation in the rice genome.