September 22, 2019  |  

Physiological genomics of dietary adaptation in a marine herbivorous fish

Authors: Heras, Joseph and Chakraborty, Mahul and Emerson, J.J. and German, Donovan

Adopting a new diet is a significant evolutionary change and can profoundly affect an animaltextquoterights physiology, biochemistry, ecology, and its genome. To study this evolutionary transition, we investigated the physiology and genomics of digestion of a derived herbivorous fish, the monkeyface prickleback (Cebidichthys violaceus). We sequenced and assembled its genome and digestive transcriptome and revealed the molecular changes related to important dietary enzymes, finding abundant evidence for adaptation at the molecular level. In this species, two gene families experienced expansion in copy number and adaptive amino acid substitutions. These families, amylase, and bile salt activated lipase, are involved digestion of carbohydrates and lipids, respectively. Both show elevated levels of gene expression and increased enzyme activity. Because carbohydrates are abundant in the pricklebacktextquoterights diet and lipids are rare, these findings suggest that such dietary specialization involves both exploiting abundant resources and scavenging rare ones, especially essential nutrients, like essential fatty acids.

Journal: BioRxiv
DOI: 10.1101/457705
Year: 2018

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