Project description:Xiphophorus fishes are represented by 26 live-bearing species of tropical fish that express many attributes (e.g., viviparity, genetic and phenotypic variation, ecological adaptation, varied sexual developmental mechanisms, ability to produce fertile interspecies hybrids) that have made attractive research models for over 85 years. Use of various interspecies hybrids to investigate the genetics underlying spontaneous and induced tumorigenesis has resulted in the development and maintenance of pedigreed Xiphophorus lines specifically bred for research. The recent availability of the X. maculatus reference genome assembly now provides unprecedented opportunities for novel and exciting comparative research studies among Xiphophorus species.We present sequencing, assembly and annotation of two new genomes representing Xiphophorus couchianus and Xiphophorus hellerii. The final X. couchianus and X. hellerii assemblies have total sizes of 708 Mb and 734 Mb and correspond to 98 % and 102 % of the X. maculatus Jp 163 A genome size, respectively. The rates of single nucleotide change range from 1 per 52 bp to 1 per 69 bp among the three genomes and the impact of putatively damaging variants are presented. In addition, a survey of transposable elements allowed us to deduce an ancestral TE landscape, uncovered potential active TEs and document a recent burst of TEs during evolution of this genus.Two new Xiphophorus genomes and their corresponding transcriptomes were efficiently assembled, the former using a novel guided assembly approach. Three assembled genome sequences within this single vertebrate order of new world live-bearing fishes will accelerate our understanding of relationship between environmental adaptation and genome evolution. In addition, these genome resources provide capability to determine allele specific gene regulation among interspecies hybrids produced by crossing any of the three species that are known to produce progeny predisposed to tumor development.
Project description:Once thought rare in animal taxa, hybridization has been increasingly recognized as an important and common force in animal evolution. In the past decade, a number of studies have suggested that hybridization has driven speciation in some animal groups. We investigate the signature of hybridization in the genome of a putative hybrid species, Xiphophorus clemenciae, through whole genome sequencing of this species and its hypothesized progenitors. Based on analysis of this data, we find that X. clemenciae is unlikely to have been derived from admixture between its proposed parental species. However, we find significant evidence for recent gene flow between Xiphophorus species. Although we detect genetic exchange in two pairs of species analyzed, the proportion of genomic regions that can be attributed to hybrid origin is small, suggesting that strong behavioral premating isolation prevents frequent hybridization in Xiphophorus. The direction of gene flow between species is potentially consistent with a role for sexual selection in mediating hybridization.
Project description:Interspecies hybrids between distinct species of the genus Xiphophorus are often used in varied research investigations to identify genomic regions associated with the inheritance of complex traits. There are 24 described Xiphophorus species and a greater number of pedigreed strains; thus, the number of potential interspecies hybrid cross combinations is quite large. Previously, select Xiphophorus experimental crosses have been shown to exhibit differing characteristics between parental species and among the hybrid fishes derived from crossing them, such as widely differing susceptibilities to chemical or physical agents. For instance, genomic regions harboring tumor suppressor and oncogenes have been identified via linkage association of these loci with a small set of established genetic markers. The power of this experimental strategy is related to the number of genetic markers available in the Xiphophorus interspecies cross of interest. Thus, we have undertaken the task of expanding the suite of easily scored markers by characterization of Xiphophorus microsatellite sequences. Using a cross between Xiphophorus maculatus and X. andersi, we report a linkage map predominantly composed of microsatellite markers. All 24 acrocentric chromosome sets of Xiphophorus are represented in the assembled linkage map with an average intergenomic distance of 7.5 cM. Since both male and female F1 hybrids were used to produce backcross progeny, these recombination rates were compared between "male" and "female" maps. Although several genomic regions exhibit differences in map length, male- and female-derived maps are similar. Thus Xiphophorus, in contrast to zebrafish, Danio rerio, and several other vertebrate species, does not show sex-specific differences in recombination. The microsatellite markers we report can be easily adapted to any Xiphophorus interspecies and some intraspecies crosses, and thus provide a means to directly compare results derived from independent experiments.
Project description:RNA from Xiphophorus maculatus (X. maculatus) are isolated and sequenced for annotation of enhanced X. maculatus genome Overall design: 26 Xiphophorus maculatus (X. maculatus) fish at various developmental stages were sacrified for tissue specific RNA or whole fish RNA isolation, RNA-sequencing and for genome annotation.
Project description:Research investigating telomere lengths and telomerase expression in vertebrates has progressively become important due to the association of these two biological endpoints with cellular aging and cancer in humans. Studies that rely upon the traditional use of laboratory mice have been faced with limitations largely due to inbred mice possessing large telomeres and ubiquitous expression of telomerase. Recently, a number of small fish species have been shown to provide potentially informative models for examining the role of telomeres and telomerase within intact vertebrate animals. Xiphophorus fishes represent a new world live-bearing genus that has not previously been assessed for telomere length or telomerase expression. To add to the knowledge base of telomere and telomerase biology in vertebrates we assessed telomere length and telomerase expression among several species of Xiphophorus. The telomere lengths in several organs (gill, brain, eyes, testis, ovary and liver) in three species (Xiphophorus hellerii, Xiphophorus maculatus, Xiphophorus couchianus) and also in F(1) interspecies hybrids were approximately 2-6 kb. This size was consistent within the same organs of the same species, as well as between species and F(1) hybrids. Despite possessing relatively short telomere lengths compared to humans, the consistency of size among Xiphophorus species and organs may allow experimental detection of telomere shortening. The relative expression of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) was determined by quantitative real-time PCR. Expression levels of TERT was measured in seven organs (ovary, testis, liver, gill, brain, heart, skin) from X. maculatus, X. hellerii and in control and ultraviolet light (UVB) exposed skin samples from X. maculatus, X. hellerii, and F(1) interspecies hybrids. TERT gene expression was significantly higher in ovary and testis, while all other organs showed low relative TERT expression. Detectable increases in TERT expression were found in skin samples upon UVB exposure. Our findings suggest that Xiphophorus may serve as a suitable model for future studies investigating the association of telomere length and telomerase expression in regard to aging and disease.
Project description:Xiphophorus models are important for melanoma, sex determination and differentiation, ovoviviparity and evolution. To gain a global view of the molecular mechanism(s) whereby gene expression may influence sexual dimorphism in Xiphophorus and to develop a database for future studies, we performed a large-scale transcriptome study.The 454-FLX massively parallel DNA sequencing platform was employed to obtain 742,771 and 721,543 reads from 2 normalized cDNA libraries generated from whole adult female and male X. maculatus Jp 163 A, respectively. The reads assembled into 45,538 contigs (here, a "contig" is a set of contiguous sequences), of which, 11,918 shared homology to existing protein sequences. These numbers estimate that the contigs may cover 53% of the total number of Xiphophorus transcriptome. Putative translations were obtained for 11,918 cDNA contigs, of which, 3,049 amino acid sequences contain Pfam domains and 11,064 contigs encode secretory proteins. A total of 3,898 contigs were associated with 2,781 InterPro (IPR) entries and 5,411 contigs with 132 KEGG (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) pathways. There were 10,446 contigs annotated with 69,778 gene ontology (GO) terms and the three corresponding organizing principles. Fifty-four potential sex differentially expressed genes have been identified from these contigs. Eight and nine of these contigs were confirmed by real-time PCR as female and male predominantly expressed genes respectively. Based on annotation results, 34 contigs were predicted to be differentially expressed in male and female and 17 of them were also confirmed by real-time PCR.This is the first report of an annotated overview of the transcriptome of X. maculatus and identification of sex differentially expressed genes. These data will be of interest to researchers using the Xiphophorus model. This work also provides an archive for future studies in molecular mechanisms of sexual dimorphism and evolution, and can be used in comparative studies of other fish.
Project description:Xiphophorus fishes are comprised of 26 known species. Interspecies hybridization between select species has been utilized to produce experimental models to study melanoma development. Xiphophorus melanoma induction protocols utilize ultraviolet light (UVB) to induce DNA damage and associated downstream tumorigenesis. However, the impact of induced stress caused by the UVB treatment of the experimental animals undergoing tumor induction protocols has not been assessed. Stress is an adaptive physiological response to excessive or unpredictable environmental stimuli. The stress response in fishes may be measured by an assay of cortisol released into the water. Here, we present results from investigations of stress response during an experimental treatment and UVB exposure in Xiphophorus maculatus Jp 163 B, Xiphophorus couchianus, and F1 interspecies hybrids produced from the mating X. maculatus Jp 163 B×X. couchianus. Overall, cortisol release rates for males and females after UVB exposure showed no statistical differences. At lower UVB doses (8 and 16kJ/m(2)), X. couchianus exhibited 2 fold higher levels of DNA damage then either X. maculatus or the F1 hybrid. However, based on the cortisol release rates, none of the fish types tested induced a primary stress response at the UVB lower doses (8 and 16kJ/m(2)). In contrast, at a very high UVB dose (32kJ/m(2)) both X. maculatus and the F1 hybrid showed a 5 fold increase in the cortisol release rate. To determine the effect of pigmentation on UVB induced stress, wild type and albino Xiphophorus hellerii were exposed to UVB (32kJ/m(2)). Albino X. hellerii exhibited 3.7 fold increase in the cortisol release while wild type X. hellerii did not exhibit a significant cortisol response to UVB. Overall, the data suggest the rather low UVB doses often employed in tumor induction protocols do not induce a primary stress response in Xiphophorus fishes.
Project description:Xiphophorus fish and interspecies hybrids represent long-standing models to study the genetics underlying spontaneous and induced tumorigenesis. The recent release of the Xiphophorus maculatus genome sequence will allow global genetic regulation studies of genes involved in the inherited susceptibility to UVB-induced melanoma within select backcross hybrids. As a first step toward this goal, we report results of an RNA-Seq approach to identify genes and pathways showing modulated transcription within the skin of X. maculatus Jp 163 B upon UVB exposure. X. maculatus Jp 163 B were exposed to various doses of UVB followed by RNA-Seq analysis at each dose to investigate overall gene expression in each sample. A total of 357 genes with a minimum expression change of 4-fold (p-adj<0.05) were identified as responsive to UVB. The molecular genetic response of Xiphophorus skin to UVB exposure permitted assessment of; (1) the basal expression level of each transcript for each skin sample, (2) the changes in expression levels for each gene in the transcriptome upon exposure to increasing doses of UVB, and (3) clusters of genes that exhibit similar patterns of change in expression upon UVB exposure. These data provide a foundation for understanding the molecular genetic response of fish skin to UVB exposure.
Project description:Xiphophorus fishes represent a model often utilized to study UVB induced tumorigenesis. Recently, varied genetic responses to UVB exposure have been documented in the skin of female and male Xiphophorus, as have differences in UVB response in the skin of different parental species and for interspecies hybrids produced from crossing them. Additionally, it has been shown that exposure to "cool white" fluorescent light induces a shift in the genetic profiles of Xiphophorus skin that is nearly as robust as the UVB response, but involves a fundamentally different set of genes. Given these results and the use of Xiphophorus interspecies hybrids as an experimental model for UVB inducible melanoma, it is of interest to characterize genes that may be transcriptionally modulated in a wavelength specific manner. The global molecular genetic response of skin upon exposure of the intact animal to specific wavelengths of light has not been investigated. Herein, we report results of RNA-Seq experiments from the skin of male Xiphophorus maculatus Jp 163 B following exposure to varied 50nm wavelengths of light ranging from 300-600nm. We identify two specific wavelength regions, 350-400nm (88 genes) and 500-550nm (276 genes), that exhibit transcriptional modulation of a significantly greater number of transcripts than any of the other 50nm regions in the 300-600nm range. Observed functional sets of genes modulated within these two transcriptionally active light regions suggest different mechanisms of gene modulation.
Project description:The persistence of seemingly maladaptive genes in organisms challenges evolutionary biological thought. In Xiphophorus fishes, certain melanin patterns form malignant melanomas because of a cancer-causing gene (Xiphophorus melanoma receptor kinase; Xmrk), which arose several millions years ago from unequal meiotic recombination. Xiphophorus melanomas are male biased and induced by androgens however male behaviour and Xmrk genotype has not been investigated. This study found that male X. cortezi with the spotted caudal (Sc) pattern, from which melanomas originate, displayed increased aggression in mirror image trials. Furthermore, Xmrk males (regardless of Sc phenotype) bit and performed more agonistic displays than Xmrk deficient males. Male aggressive response decreased when males viewed their Sc image as compared with their non-Sc image. Collectively, these results indicate that Xmrk males experience a competitive advantage over wild-type males and that intrasexual selection could be an important component in the evolutionary maintenance of this oncogene within Xiphophorus.