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Divergent life history shapes gene expression in brains of salmon

impossible to tell as of yet whether the changes in gene expression are a cause or effect of the various physiological differences between sneakers and other salmon. Their work suggests that the "default" life cycle, in which male salmon spend several years in oceans before returning to freshwater to reproduce, may actually result from active inhibition of development into a sneaker. Previous studies have found that the proportion of sneakers in various salmon populations varies wildly; it appears that males that grow fastest early in life go on to become sneakers.

The study by Aubin-Horth and her colleagues differed from most examinations of divergent life histories, in any vertebrate species, in that it combined the use of wild individuals, caught in a tributary of the Connecticut River in western Massachusetts, with new functional genomics technologies to simultaneously monitor thousands of genes in individual tissues.

"Research like this was very difficult in the past because we lacked adequate tools to measure gene expression," Aubin-Horth says. "As a result almost nothing is known about the molecular basis of developmental plasticity such as that seen among 'sneaker' salmon."


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Source:Harvard University


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