Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Conserved transcriptomic profiles underpin monogamy across vertebrates.

  • Author(s): Young, Rebecca L
  • Ferkin, Michael H
  • Ockendon-Powell, Nina F
  • Orr, Veronica N
  • Phelps, Steven M
  • Pogány, Ákos
  • Richards-Zawacki, Corinne L
  • Summers, Kyle
  • Székely, Tamás
  • Trainor, Brian C
  • Urrutia, Araxi O
  • Zachar, Gergely
  • O'Connell, Lauren A
  • Hofmann, Hans A
  • et al.
Abstract

Social monogamy, typically characterized by the formation of a pair bond, increased territorial defense, and often biparental care, has independently evolved multiple times in animals. Despite the independent evolutionary origins of monogamous mating systems, several homologous brain regions and neuropeptides and their receptors have been shown to play a conserved role in regulating social affiliation and parental care, but little is known about the neuromolecular mechanisms underlying monogamy on a genomic scale. Here, we compare neural transcriptomes of reproductive males in monogamous and nonmonogamous species pairs of Peromyscus mice, Microtus voles, parid songbirds, dendrobatid frogs, and Xenotilapia species of cichlid fishes. We find that, while evolutionary divergence time between species or clades did not explain gene expression similarity, characteristics of the mating system correlated with neural gene expression patterns, and neural gene expression varied concordantly across vertebrates when species transition to monogamy. Our study provides evidence of a universal transcriptomic mechanism underlying the evolution of monogamy in vertebrates.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View