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Evolved Differences in cis and trans Regulation Between the Maternal and Zygotic mRNA Complements in the Drosophila Embryo.

  • Author(s): Cartwright, Emily L
  • Lott, Susan E
  • et al.
Abstract

How gene expression can evolve depends on the mechanisms driving gene expression. Gene expression is controlled in different ways in different developmental stages; here we ask whether different developmental stages show different patterns of regulatory evolution. To explore the mode of regulatory evolution, we used the early stages of embryonic development controlled by two different genomes, that of the mother and that of the zygote. During embryogenesis in all animals, initial developmental processes are driven entirely by maternally provided gene products deposited into the oocyte. The zygotic genome is activated later, when developmental control is handed off from maternal gene products to the zygote during the maternal-to-zygotic transition. Using hybrid crosses between sister species of Drosophila (D sim ulans, D. sechellia, and D. mauritiana) and transcriptomics, we find that the regulation of maternal transcript deposition and zygotic transcription evolve through different mechanisms. We find that patterns of transcript level inheritance in hybrids, relative to parental species, differ between maternal and zygotic transcripts, and maternal transcript levels are more likely to be conserved. Changes in transcript levels occur predominantly through differences in trans regulation for maternal genes, while changes in zygotic transcription occur through a combination of both ci s and trans regulatory changes. Differences in the underlying regulatory landscape in the mother and the zygote are likely the primary determinants for how maternal and zygotic transcripts evolve.

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