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Genetical Genomics of Behavior: A novel chicken genomic model for anxiety behavior
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1262-4585
Institutionen för neurovetenskap, Uppsala universitet.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2329-2635
2016 (English)In: Genetics, ISSN 0016-6731, Vol. 202, no 1, 327+- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The identification of genetic variants responsible for behavioral variation is an enduring goal in biology, with wide-scale ramifications, ranging from medical research to evolutionary theory on personality syndromes. Here, we use for the first time a large-scale genetical genomics analysis in the brain of the chicken to identify genes affecting anxiety as measured by an open field test. We combine quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis in 572 individuals and expression QTL (eQTL) analysis in 129 individuals from an advanced intercross between domestic chickens and Red Junglefowl. We identify ten putative quantitative trait genes affecting anxiety behavior. These genes were tested for an association in the mouse Heterogenous Stock anxiety (open field) dataset and human GWAS datasets for bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. Although comparisons between species are complex, associations were observed for four of the candidate genes in mouse, and three of the candidate genes in humans. Using a multi-model approach we have therefore identified a number of putative quantitative trait genes affecting anxiety behavior, principally in the chicken but also with some potentially translational effects as well. This study demonstrates that the chicken is an excellent model organism for the genetic dissection of behavior.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The Genetics Society, 2016. Vol. 202, no 1, 327+- p.
Keyword [en]
Anxiety, behavioral genes, eQTL, QTL, causal genes, personality
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122276DOI: 10.1534/genetics.115.179010ISI: 000367718100026PubMedID: 26733665OAI: diva2:865181

Funding agencies: Swedish Research Council; Swedish Research Council for Environment; Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning; European Research Council [GENEWELL 322206]

Available from: 2015-10-27 Created: 2015-10-27 Last updated: 2016-02-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Genomics of chicken domestication and feralisation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Genomics of chicken domestication and feralisation
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Domestication can serve as a study system of rapid evolutionary change with wide-ranging effects on traits in animals. The chicken was domesticated from the Red Junglefowl and has diverged in behaviour, morphology and life history traits. Conversely, feralisation is a more recent process when domestic animals are again exposed and respond to an environment outside of human husbandry. Linkage-based quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping has been used to localise genetic variants that affect domestication traits in the chicken genome. Because of the limited resolution of linkage mapping, the QTL regions associated with domestication traits are often broad and contain many genes. One approach to help sort out potential causative genes is to measure gene expression as an intermediary molecular phenotype. In this dissertation, expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) mapping of gene expression traits is used to search for potential causative genes for domestication traits in the chicken. Expression quantitative trait loci were mapped across the whole genome in bone and hypothalamus samples, and targeted at QTL regions in the base of the comb. These studies have resulted in candidate quantitative trait genes, supported by genetic and gene expression evidence, for relative comb mass, bone allocation, egg production and fearful behaviour as measured in an open field test. Secondly, a population genomics approach was used to study the molecular basis of feralisation in a free-range feral chicken population from the Pacific island of Kauai. Mitochondrial DNA sequences and phenotypic observations establish the hybrid origin of this population as a mixture of wild and domestic chickens. Genome-wide mapping of pooled heterozygosity highlight regions that may be involved in adaptation to the feral environment. The expression QTL results bring us closer to knowledge about the molecular basis of domestication traits in the chicken, suggesting plausible candidate genes and opening up for functional studies of individual loci. The population genomic study shows that feralisation has a mostly different genomic architecture than domestication, and suggests phenotypic effects, based on overlap with domestication QTL regions, for some of the identified regions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 28 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1708
National Category
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122280 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-122280 (DOI)978-91-7685-932-2 (Print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-12-18, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2015-11-02 Created: 2015-10-27 Last updated: 2015-11-05Bibliographically approved

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