Hybrid gene misregulation in multiple developing tissues within a recent adaptive radiation of Cyprinodon pupfishes.


Genetic incompatibilities constitute the final stages of reproductive isolation and speciation, but little is known about incompatibilities that occur within recent adaptive radiations among closely related diverging populations. Crossing divergent species to form hybrids can break up coadapted variation, resulting in genetic incompatibilities within developmental networks shaping divergent adaptive traits. We crossed two closely related sympatric Cyprinodon pupfish species-a dietary generalist and a specialized molluscivore-and measured expression levels in their F1 hybrids to identify regulatory variation underlying the novel craniofacial morphology found in this recent microendemic adaptive radiation. We extracted mRNA from eight day old whole-larvae tissue and from craniofacial tissues dissected from 17-20 day old larvae to compare gene expression between a total of seven F1 hybrids and 24 individuals from parental species populations. We found 3.9% of genes differentially expressed between generalists and molluscivores in whole-larvae tissues and 0.6% of genes differentially expressed in craniofacial tissue. We found that 2.1% of genes were misregulated in whole-larvae hybrids whereas 19.1% of genes were misregulated in hybrid craniofacial tissues, after correcting for sequencing biases. We also measured allele specific expression across 15,429 heterozygous sites to identify putative compensatory regulatory mechanisms underlying differential expression between generalists and molluscivores. Together, our results highlight the importance of considering misregulation as an early indicator of genetic incompatibilities in the context of rapidly diverging adaptive radiations and suggests that compensatory regulatory divergence drives hybrid gene misregulation in developing tissues that give rise to novel craniofacial traits

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