Genetic & epigenetic variation in mothers and larvae with different developmental modes.

We are investigating genetic and epigenetic variation in Pygospio elegans to determine how such variation might influence developmental mode polymorphism in this species. We use a variety of methods, including NGS of the transcriptome of mothers prior to egg laying. Comparison of maternal gene expression will allow us to assess maternal factors (e.g. genes related to provisioning) which may affect development of the larvae through the different modes. Transcriptome sequencing of larvae is also underway. Differential expression of genes will be compared further using qPCR. Because there is heterochrony in development of the different larval types, we expect to see at least heterochronic differences in the expression of developmental genes. Potential epigenetic regulation via DNA methylation is investigated with methylation sensitive AFLP.

People: Liisa Heikkinen, Jenni Kesäniemi, Anne Thonig & K. Emily Knott

Publications: In progress

Kesäniemi, J.E., L. Heikkinen and K.E. Knott. DNA methylation and potential for epigenetic regulation in Pygospio elegans. PLoS ONE 11(3):e0151863. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0151863.

Funding: This project is supported by the Academy of Finland; and previously, by the EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network SPECIATION.