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      Honey bee aggression supports a link between gene regulation and behavioral evolution.

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

      Species Specificity, Aggression, Animals, Bees, physiology, Behavior, Animal, Biological Evolution, Brain, metabolism, Enzymes, Gene Expression Regulation, Mexico, Mitochondrial Proteins, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, Principal Component Analysis, Regulatory Elements, Transcriptional, genetics

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          Abstract

          A prominent theory states that animal phenotypes arise by evolutionary changes in gene regulation, but the extent to which this theory holds true for behavioral evolution is not known. Because "nature and nurture" are now understood to involve hereditary and environmental influences on gene expression, we studied whether environmental influences on a behavioral phenotype, i.e., aggression, could have evolved into inherited differences via changes in gene expression. Here, with microarray analysis of honey bees, we show that aggression-related genes with inherited patterns of brain expression are also environmentally regulated. There were expression differences in the brain for hundreds of genes between the highly aggressive Africanized honey bee compared with European honey bee (EHB) subspecies. Similar results were obtained for EHB in response to exposure to alarm pheromone (which provokes aggression) and when comparing old and young bees (aggressive tendencies increase with age). There was significant overlap of the gene lists generated from these three microarray experiments. Moreover, there was statistical enrichment of several of the same cis regulatory motifs in promoters of genes on all three gene lists. Aggression shows a remarkably robust brain molecular signature regardless of whether it occurs because of inherited, age-related, or environmental (social) factors. It appears that one element in the evolution of different degrees of aggressive behavior in honey bees involved changes in regulation of genes that mediate the response to alarm pheromone.

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          Most cited references 35

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          Systematic discovery of regulatory motifs in human promoters and 3' UTRs by comparison of several mammals.

          Comprehensive identification of all functional elements encoded in the human genome is a fundamental need in biomedical research. Here, we present a comparative analysis of the human, mouse, rat and dog genomes to create a systematic catalogue of common regulatory motifs in promoters and 3' untranslated regions (3' UTRs). The promoter analysis yields 174 candidate motifs, including most previously known transcription-factor binding sites and 105 new motifs. The 3'-UTR analysis yields 106 motifs likely to be involved in post-transcriptional regulation. Nearly one-half are associated with microRNAs (miRNAs), leading to the discovery of many new miRNA genes and their likely target genes. Our results suggest that previous estimates of the number of human miRNA genes were low, and that miRNAs regulate at least 20% of human genes. The overall results provide a systematic view of gene regulation in the human, which will be refined as additional mammalian genomes become available.
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            Developmental plasticity and the origin of species differences.

             M Eberhard (2005)
            Speciation is the origin of reproductive isolation and divergence between populations, according to the "biological species concept" of Mayr. Studies of reproductive isolation have dominated research on speciation, leaving the origin of species differences relatively poorly understood. Here, I argue that the origin of species differences, and of novel phenotypes in general, involves the reorganization of ancestral phenotypes (developmental recombination) followed by the genetic accommodation of change. Because selection acts on phenotypes, not directly on genotypes or genes, novel traits can originate by environmental induction as well as mutation, then undergo selection and genetic accommodation fueled by standing genetic variation or by subsequent mutation and genetic recombination. Insofar as phenotypic novelties arise from adaptive developmental plasticity, they are not "random" variants, because their initial form reflects adaptive responses with an evolutionary history, even though they are initiated by mutations or novel environmental factors that are random with respect to (future) adaptation. Change in trait frequency involves genetic accommodation of the threshold or liability for expression of a novel trait, a process that follows rather than directs phenotypic change. Contrary to common belief, environmentally initiated novelties may have greater evolutionary potential than mutationally induced ones. Thus, genes are probably more often followers than leaders in evolutionary change. Species differences can originate before reproductive isolation and contribute to the process of speciation itself. Therefore, the genetics of speciation can profit from studies of changes in gene expression as well as changes in gene frequency and genetic isolation.
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              Negative functional MRI response correlates with decreases in neuronal activity in monkey visual area V1.

              Most functional brain imaging studies use task-induced hemodynamic responses to infer underlying changes in neuronal activity. In addition to increases in cerebral blood flow and blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signals, sustained negative responses are pervasive in functional imaging. The origin of negative responses and their relationship to neural activity remain poorly understood. Through simultaneous functional magnetic resonance imaging and electrophysiological recording, we demonstrate a negative BOLD response (NBR) beyond the stimulated regions of visual cortex, associated with local decreases in neuronal activity below spontaneous activity, detected 7.15 +/- 3.14 mm away from the closest positively responding region in V1. Trial-by-trial amplitude fluctuations revealed tight coupling between the NBR and neuronal activity decreases. The NBR was associated with comparable decreases in local field potentials and multiunit activity. Our findings indicate that a significant component of the NBR originates in neuronal activity decreases.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.1073/pnas.0907043106
                2730357
                19706434

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