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Transcriptome analysis of a wild bird reveals physiological responses to the urban environment

Watson, Hannah LU ; Videvall, Elin LU ; Andersson, Martin N LU and Isaksson, Caroline LU (2017) In Scientific Reports 7. p.44180-44180
Abstract

Identifying the molecular basis of environmentally induced phenotypic variation presents exciting opportunities for furthering our understanding of how ecological processes and the environment can shape the phenotype. Urban and rural environments present free-living organisms with different challenges and opportunities, which have marked consequences for the phenotype, yet little is known about responses at the molecular level. We characterised transcriptomes from an urban and a rural population of great tits Parus major, demonstrating striking differences in gene expression profiles in both blood and liver tissues. Differentially expressed genes had functions related to immune and inflammatory responses, detoxification, protection... (More)

Identifying the molecular basis of environmentally induced phenotypic variation presents exciting opportunities for furthering our understanding of how ecological processes and the environment can shape the phenotype. Urban and rural environments present free-living organisms with different challenges and opportunities, which have marked consequences for the phenotype, yet little is known about responses at the molecular level. We characterised transcriptomes from an urban and a rural population of great tits Parus major, demonstrating striking differences in gene expression profiles in both blood and liver tissues. Differentially expressed genes had functions related to immune and inflammatory responses, detoxification, protection against oxidative stress, lipid metabolism, and regulation of gene expression. Many genes linked to stress responses were expressed at higher levels in the urban birds, in accordance with our prediction that urban animals are exposed to greater environmental stress. This is one of the first studies to reveal transcriptional differences between urban- and rural-dwelling animals and suggests an important role for epigenetics in mediating environmentally induced physiological variation. The study provides valuable resources for developing further in-depth studies of the mechanisms driving phenotypic variation in the urban context at larger spatial and temporal scales.

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author
organization
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type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Journal Article
in
Scientific Reports
volume
7
pages
44180 - 44180
publisher
Nature Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • scopus:85015273011
  • wos:000396217800001
ISSN
2045-2322
DOI
10.1038/srep44180
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
86bb72ba-e9a4-4077-b233-53144ff3f3d8
date added to LUP
2017-03-21 09:49:36
date last changed
2017-09-18 11:33:28
@article{86bb72ba-e9a4-4077-b233-53144ff3f3d8,
  abstract     = {<p>Identifying the molecular basis of environmentally induced phenotypic variation presents exciting opportunities for furthering our understanding of how ecological processes and the environment can shape the phenotype. Urban and rural environments present free-living organisms with different challenges and opportunities, which have marked consequences for the phenotype, yet little is known about responses at the molecular level. We characterised transcriptomes from an urban and a rural population of great tits Parus major, demonstrating striking differences in gene expression profiles in both blood and liver tissues. Differentially expressed genes had functions related to immune and inflammatory responses, detoxification, protection against oxidative stress, lipid metabolism, and regulation of gene expression. Many genes linked to stress responses were expressed at higher levels in the urban birds, in accordance with our prediction that urban animals are exposed to greater environmental stress. This is one of the first studies to reveal transcriptional differences between urban- and rural-dwelling animals and suggests an important role for epigenetics in mediating environmentally induced physiological variation. The study provides valuable resources for developing further in-depth studies of the mechanisms driving phenotypic variation in the urban context at larger spatial and temporal scales.</p>},
  author       = {Watson, Hannah and Videvall, Elin and Andersson, Martin N and Isaksson, Caroline},
  issn         = {2045-2322},
  keyword      = {Journal Article},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {03},
  pages        = {44180--44180},
  publisher    = {Nature Publishing Group},
  series       = {Scientific Reports},
  title        = {Transcriptome analysis of a wild bird reveals physiological responses to the urban environment},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep44180},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2017},
}