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The ancestral levels of transcription and the evolution of sexual phenotypes in filamentous fungi.


ABSTRACT: Changes in gene expression have been hypothesized to play an important role in the evolution of divergent morphologies. To test this hypothesis in a model system, we examined differences in fruiting body morphology of five filamentous fungi in the Sordariomycetes, culturing them in a common garden environment and profiling genome-wide gene expression at five developmental stages. We reconstructed ancestral gene expression phenotypes, identifying genes with the largest evolved increases in gene expression across development. Conducting knockouts and performing phenotypic analysis in two divergent species typically demonstrated altered fruiting body development in the species that had evolved increased expression. Our evolutionary approach to finding relevant genes proved far more efficient than other gene deletion studies targeting whole genomes or gene families. Combining gene expression measurements with knockout phenotypes facilitated the refinement of Bayesian networks of the genes underlying fruiting body development, regulation of which is one of the least understood processes of multicellular development.

SUBMITTER: Trail F 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5509106 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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