PUBLICATION

An epigenetic mechanism for cavefish eye degeneration

Authors
Gore, A.V., Tomins, K.A., Iben, J., Ma, L., Castranova, D., Davis, A.E., Parkhurst, A., Jeffery, W.R., Weinstein, B.M.
ID
ZDB-PUB-180530-34
Date
2018
Source
Nature ecology & evolution   2(7): 1155-1160 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Castranova, Dan, Davis, Andrew, Gore, Aniket, Jeffery, William R., Parkhurst, Amy, Weinstein, Brant M.
Keywords
none
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Caves
  • Characidae/genetics*
  • Characidae/growth & development
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic/genetics*
  • Eye/growth & development*
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Phenotype
PubMed
29807993 Full text @ Nat Ecol Evol
Abstract
Coding and non-coding mutations in DNA contribute significantly to phenotypic variability during evolution. However, less is known about the role of epigenetics in this process. Although previous studies have identified eye development genes associated with the loss-of-eyes phenotype in the Pachón blind cave morph of the Mexican tetra Astyanax mexicanus, no inactivating mutations have been found in any of these genes. Here, we show that excess DNA methylation-based epigenetic silencing promotes eye degeneration in blind cave A. mexicanus. By performing parallel analyses in A. mexicanus cave and surface morphs, and in the zebrafish Danio rerio, we have discovered that DNA methylation mediates eye-specific gene repression and globally regulates early eye development. The most significantly hypermethylated and downregulated genes in the cave morph are also linked to human eye disorders, suggesting that the function of these genes is conserved across vertebrates. Our results show that changes in DNA methylation-based gene repression can serve as an important molecular mechanism generating phenotypic diversity during development and evolution.
Genes / Markers
Figures
Show all Figures
Expression
Phenotype
Mutation and Transgenics
Human Disease / Model Data
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Fish
Antibodies
Orthology
Engineered Foreign Genes
Mapping
Errata and Notes