DNA Methylation Patterns in the Round Goby Hypothalamus Support an On-The-Spot Decision Scenario for Territorial Behavior
Hirsch, Philipp E.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
The question as to how early life experiences are stored on a molecular level and affect traits later in life is highly topical in ecology, medicine, and epigenetics. In this study, we use a fish model to investigate whether DNA methylation mediates early life experiences and predetermines a territorial male reproductive phenotype. In fish, adult reproductive phenotypes frequently depend on previous life experiences and are often associated with distinct morphological traits. DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism which is both sensitive to environmental conditions and stably inherited across cell divisions. We therefore investigate early life predisposition in the round goby Neogobius melanostomus by growth back-calculations and then study DNA methylation by MBD-Seq in the brain region controlling vertebrate reproductive behavior, the hypothalamus. We find a link between the territorial reproductive phenotype and high growth rates in the first year of life. However, hypothalamic DNA methylation patterns reflect the current behavioral status independently of early life experiences. Together, our data suggest a non-predetermination scenario in the round goby, in which indeterminate males progress to a non-territorial status in the spawning season, and in which some males then assume a specialized territorial phenotype if current conditions are favorable Show more
Journal / seriesGenes
Pages / Article No.
SubjectNeogobius melanostomus; reproductive strategy; epigenetic mechanisms; brain; latent effects
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