A complex genetic architecture in zebrafish relatives Danio quagga and D. kyathit underlies development of stripes and spots

McCluskey, B.M., Uji, S., Mancusi, J.L., Postlethwait, J.H., Parichy, D.M.
PLoS Genetics   17: e1009364 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Parichy, David M., Postlethwait, John H.
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Cyprinidae/genetics*
  • Cyprinidae/physiology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Embryonic Development/genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/genetics
  • Melanophores/metabolism
  • Metamorphosis, Biological/genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Skin Pigmentation/genetics*
  • Species Specificity
  • Zebrafish/genetics*
33901178 Full text @ PLoS Genet.
Vertebrate pigmentation is a fundamentally important, multifaceted phenotype. Zebrafish, Danio rerio, has been a valuable model for understanding genetics and development of pigment pattern formation due to its genetic and experimental tractability, advantages that are shared across several Danio species having a striking array of pigment patterns. Here, we use the sister species D. quagga and D. kyathit, with stripes and spots, respectively, to understand how natural genetic variation impacts phenotypes at cellular and organismal levels. We first show that D. quagga and D. kyathit phenotypes resemble those of wild-type D. rerio and several single locus mutants of D. rerio, respectively, in a morphospace defined by pattern variation along dorsoventral and anteroposterior axes. We then identify differences in patterning at the cellular level between D. quagga and D. kyathit by repeated daily imaging during pattern development and quantitative comparisons of adult phenotypes, revealing that patterns are similar initially but diverge ontogenetically. To assess the genetic architecture of these differences, we employ reduced-representation sequencing of second-generation hybrids. Despite the similarity of D. quagga to D. rerio, and D. kyathit to some D. rerio mutants, our analyses reveal a complex genetic basis for differences between D. quagga and D. kyathit, with several quantitative trait loci contributing to variation in overall pattern and cellular phenotypes, epistatic interactions between loci, and abundant segregating variation within species. Our findings provide a window into the evolutionary genetics of pattern-forming mechanisms in Danio and highlight the complexity of differences that can arise even between sister species. Further studies of natural genetic diversity underlying pattern variation in D. quagga and D. kyathit should provide insights complementary to those from zebrafish mutant phenotypes and more distant species comparisons.
Genes / Markers
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Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes