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For some young fish, early gene expression is a clear harbinger of fated lifestyle

he researchers studied gene expression in two species--strains of the brown trout, Salmo trutta, and a strain of the Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar. The researchers showed that many genes of genetically similar sedentary and migrant populations living in the same river were expressed at different levels. At the same time, two sedentary brown trout populations from Denmark and France, despite having diverged half a million years ago, showed very similar gene expression profiles. This remarkable similarity in gene expression between populations sharing the same life history--but being genetically very divergent and occupying different habitats--suggests that the genetic program of a given life history has been a highly selected attribute during the evolution of brown trout populations.

The findings also indicate that such striking differences in gene expression profiles are probably controlled by only a few major genes.

In addition, the authors showed that while there is a large diversity in gene expression levels between individuals from the same population, the different expression profiles associated with lifestyle fates were so distinct that by measuring the expression levels of relevant genes, it was possible to predict the future lifestyle of fish at the juvenile stage.


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Source:Cell Press


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