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Genome Biol Evol 2016 Dec 01;812:3672-3684. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evw272.
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Genomic Characterization of the Evolutionary Potential of the Sea Urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis Facing Ocean Acidification.

Runcie DE , Dorey N , Garfield DA , Stumpp M , Dupont S , Wray GA .

Ocean acidification (OA) is increasing due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions and poses a threat to marine species and communities worldwide. To better project the effects of acidification on organisms'' health and persistence, an understanding is needed of the 1) mechanisms underlying developmental and physiological tolerance and 2) potential populations have for rapid evolutionary adaptation. This is especially challenging in nonmodel species where targeted assays of metabolism and stress physiology may not be available or economical for large-scale assessments of genetic constraints. We used mRNA sequencing and a quantitative genetics breeding design to study mechanisms underlying genetic variability and tolerance to decreased seawater pH (-0.4 pH units) in larvae of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis. We used a gene ontology-based approach to integrate expression profiles into indirect measures of cellular and biochemical traits underlying variation in larval performance (i.e., growth rates). Molecular responses to OA were complex, involving changes to several functions such as growth rates, cell division, metabolism, and immune activities. Surprisingly, the magnitude of pH effects on molecular traits tended to be small relative to variation attributable to segregating functional genetic variation in this species. We discuss how the application of transcriptomics and quantitative genetics approaches across diverse species can enrich our understanding of the biological impacts of climate change.

PubMed ID: 28082601
PMC ID: PMC5521728
Article link: Genome Biol Evol

Genes referenced: LOC100887844 LOC115919910 LOC115925415 LOC583082

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References [+] :
Alvarez, Ten years of transcriptomics in wild populations: what have we learned about their ecology and evolution? 2015, Pubmed