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The sex-biased brain: sexual dimorphism in gene expression in two species of songbirds

Naurin, Sara LU ; Hansson, Bengt LU ; Hasselquist, Dennis LU ; Kim, Yong-Hwan and Bensch, Staffan LU (2011) In BMC Genomics 12.
Abstract
Background: Despite virtually identical DNA sequences between the sexes, sexual dimorphism is a widespread phenomenon in nature. To a large extent the systematic differences between the sexes must therefore arise from processes involving gene regulation. In accordance, sexual dimorphism in gene expression is common and extensive. Genes with sexually dimorphic regulation are known to evolve rapidly, both in DNA sequence and in gene expression profile. Studies of gene expression in related species can shed light on the flexibility, or degree of conservation, of the gene expression profiles underlying sexual dimorphism. Results: We have studied the extent of sexual dimorphism in gene expression in the brain of two species of songbirds, the... (More)
Background: Despite virtually identical DNA sequences between the sexes, sexual dimorphism is a widespread phenomenon in nature. To a large extent the systematic differences between the sexes must therefore arise from processes involving gene regulation. In accordance, sexual dimorphism in gene expression is common and extensive. Genes with sexually dimorphic regulation are known to evolve rapidly, both in DNA sequence and in gene expression profile. Studies of gene expression in related species can shed light on the flexibility, or degree of conservation, of the gene expression profiles underlying sexual dimorphism. Results: We have studied the extent of sexual dimorphism in gene expression in the brain of two species of songbirds, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) and the common whitethroat (Sylvia communis), using large-scale microarray technology. Sexual dimorphism in gene expression was extensive in both species, and predominantly sex-linked: most genes identified were male-biased and Z-linked. Interestingly, approximately 50% of the male-biased Z-linked genes were sex-biased only in one of the study species. Conclusion: Our results corroborate the results of recent studies in chicken and zebra finch which have been interpreted as caused by a low degree of dosage compensation in female birds (i.e. the heterogametic sex). Moreover, they suggest that zebra finches and common whitethroats dosage compensate partly different sets of genes on the Z chromosome. It is possible that this pattern reflects differences in either the essentiality or the level of sexual antagonism of these genes in the respective species. Such differences might correspond to genes with different rates of evolution related to sexual dimorphism in the avian brain, and might therefore be correlated with differences between the species in sex-specific behaviours. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
BMC Genomics
volume
12
publisher
BioMed Central
external identifiers
  • wos:000287201500001
  • scopus:78651369572
ISSN
1471-2164
DOI
10.1186/1471-2164-12-37
project
CAnMove
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a5850d76-4e08-4ff5-ab16-bf3c147313d7 (old id 1878167)
date added to LUP
2011-04-14 09:13:35
date last changed
2017-08-20 04:01:56
@article{a5850d76-4e08-4ff5-ab16-bf3c147313d7,
  abstract     = {Background: Despite virtually identical DNA sequences between the sexes, sexual dimorphism is a widespread phenomenon in nature. To a large extent the systematic differences between the sexes must therefore arise from processes involving gene regulation. In accordance, sexual dimorphism in gene expression is common and extensive. Genes with sexually dimorphic regulation are known to evolve rapidly, both in DNA sequence and in gene expression profile. Studies of gene expression in related species can shed light on the flexibility, or degree of conservation, of the gene expression profiles underlying sexual dimorphism. Results: We have studied the extent of sexual dimorphism in gene expression in the brain of two species of songbirds, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) and the common whitethroat (Sylvia communis), using large-scale microarray technology. Sexual dimorphism in gene expression was extensive in both species, and predominantly sex-linked: most genes identified were male-biased and Z-linked. Interestingly, approximately 50% of the male-biased Z-linked genes were sex-biased only in one of the study species. Conclusion: Our results corroborate the results of recent studies in chicken and zebra finch which have been interpreted as caused by a low degree of dosage compensation in female birds (i.e. the heterogametic sex). Moreover, they suggest that zebra finches and common whitethroats dosage compensate partly different sets of genes on the Z chromosome. It is possible that this pattern reflects differences in either the essentiality or the level of sexual antagonism of these genes in the respective species. Such differences might correspond to genes with different rates of evolution related to sexual dimorphism in the avian brain, and might therefore be correlated with differences between the species in sex-specific behaviours.},
  author       = {Naurin, Sara and Hansson, Bengt and Hasselquist, Dennis and Kim, Yong-Hwan and Bensch, Staffan},
  issn         = {1471-2164},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {BioMed Central},
  series       = {BMC Genomics},
  title        = {The sex-biased brain: sexual dimorphism in gene expression in two species of songbirds},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-12-37},
  volume       = {12},
  year         = {2011},
}