Experimental Life History Evolution Results in Sex-specific Evolution of Gene Expression in Seed Beetles.

Immonen E, Sayadi A, Stojković B, Savković U, Đorđević M, Liljestrand-Rönn J, Wiberg RAW, Arnqvist G

Genome Biol Evol 15 (1) - [2023-01-04; online 2022-12-22]

The patterns of reproductive timing and senescence vary within and across species owing to differences in reproductive strategies, but our understanding of the molecular underpinnings of such variation is incomplete. This is perhaps particularly true for sex differences. We investigated the evolution of sex-specific gene expression associated with life history divergence in replicated populations of the seed beetle Acanthoscelides obtectus, experimentally evolving under (E)arly or (L)ate life reproduction for >200 generations which has resulted in strongly divergent life histories. We detected 1,646 genes that were differentially expressed in E and L lines, consistent with a highly polygenic basis of life history evolution. Only 30% of differentially expressed genes were similarly affected in males and females. The evolution of long life was associated with significantly reduced sex differences in expression, especially in non-reproductive tissues. The expression differences were overall more pronounced in females, in accordance with their greater phenotypic divergence in lifespan. Functional enrichment analysis revealed differences between E and L beetles in gene categories previously implicated in aging, such as mitochondrial function and defense response. The results show that divergent life history evolution can be associated with profound changes in gene expression that alter the transcriptome in a sex-specific way, highlighting the importance of understanding the mechanisms of aging in each sex.

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PubMed 36542472

DOI 10.1093/gbe/evac177

Crossref 10.1093/gbe/evac177

pmc: PMC9830990
pii: 6948356

Publications 9.5.0