Published May 15, 2024 | Version v1
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R code for differential gene expression and enrichment analyses

  • 1. Jagiellonian University


The information about the magnitude of differences in thermal plasticity both between and within populations, as well as identification of the underlying molecular mechanisms are key to understanding the evolution of thermal plasticity. In particular, genes underlying variation in the physiological response to temperature can provide raw material for selection acting on plastic traits. Using RNAseq, we investigate the transcriptional response to temperature in males and females from bulb mite populations selected for the increased frequency of one of two discrete male morphs (fighter- and scrambler-selected populations) that differ in relative fitness depending on temperature. We show that different mechanisms underlie the divergence in thermal response between fighter- and scrambler-selected populations at decreased vs. increased temperatures. Temperature decrease to 18°C was associated with higher transcriptomic plasticity of males with more elaborate armaments, as indicated by a significant selection-by-temperature interaction effect on the expression of 40 genes, 38 of which were upregulated in fighter-selected populations in response to temperature decrease. In response to 28°C, no selection-by-temperature interaction in gene expression was detected. Hence, differences in phenotypic response to temperature increase likely depended on genes associated with their distinct morph-specific thermal tolerance. Selection on males also drove gene expression patterns in females. These patterns could be associated with temperature-dependent fitness differences between females from fighter- vs. scrambler-selected populations reported in previous studies. Our study shows that selection for divergent male sexually selected morphologies and behaviors has the potential to drive divergence in metabolic pathways underlying plastic response to temperature in both sexes.


Funding provided by: National Science Center
Award Number: UMO-2015/19/B/NZ8/01393


The data originate from RNAseq on bulb mite populations selected for the increased or decreased frequency of the fighter morph. Gene expression was measured in both sexes in mites developing at three different temperatures (18, 23, and 28°C).



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