Comprehensive Transcriptome Analysis of Six Catfish Species from an Altitude Gradient Reveals Adaptive Evolution in Tibetan Fishes

Our analyses provide novel insights into highland adaptation in fishes and can serve as a foundation for future studies aiming to identify candidate genes underlying the genetic basis of adaptation in Tibetan fishes

Xiuhui Ma


Scholarcy highlights

  • The mechanisms underlying organismal adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia have recently become of great interest
  • By examining the Ka/Ks ratios for 1656 orthologous genes in the glyptosternoid lineage, we found that 480 genes had higher Ka/Ks values in all three glyptosternoid fish lineages
  • Functional enrichment analysis showed that the FEGs identified in each glyptosternoid lineage were significantly enriched for genes involved in energy metabolism and oxidation-related functions, including “ATP binding,” “mitochondrial part,” “GTPase regulator activity,” “ATPase activity,” and “Acyl-CoA oxidase/dehydrogenase,” whereas FEGs detected in yellowhead catfish were generally enriched in functions involved in structure components
  • The glyptosternoid fishes distributed in the rivers of the Tibetan Plateau and peripheral regions are extremely well adapted to high altitude
  • Over the past few years, comparative genomics has been widely employed as a tool to understand the genetic basis of many fundamental evolutionary questions, including adaptation, speciation
  • We generated and annotated the first comprehensive transcriptome resource for three glyptosternoid fishes that are endemic to the Tibetan Plateau, and show many unique traits that have enabled their adaptation to highland environments compared to three other catfish species from the plains using RNA-seq technology
  • To identify the potential genes directly involved in hypoxia, we focused on the function of positively selected genes in the glyptosternoid fish lineage

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