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Patterns of Epigenetic Diversity in Two Sympatric Fish Species: Genetic vs. Environmental Determinants

Abstract : Epigenetic components are hypothesized to be sensitive to the environment, which should permit species to adapt to environmental changes. In wild populations, epigenetic variation should therefore be mainly driven by environmental variation. Here, we tested whether epigenetic variation (DNA methylation) observed in wild populations is related to their genetic background, and/or to the local environment. Focusing on two sympatric freshwater fish species (Gobio occitaniae and Phoxinus phoxinus), we tested the relationships between epigenetic differentiation, genetic differentiation (using microsatellite and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers), and environmental distances between sites. We identify positive relationships between pairwise genetic and epigenetic distances in both species. Moreover, epigenetic marks better discriminated populations than genetic markers, especially in G. occitaniae. In G. occitaniae, both pairwise epigenetic and genetic distances were significantly associated to environmental distances between sites. Nonetheless, when controlling for genetic differentiation, the link between epigenetic differentiation and environmental distances was not significant anymore, indicating a noncausal relationship. Our results suggest that fish epigenetic variation is mainly genetically determined and that the environment weakly contributed to epigenetic variation. We advocate the need to control for the genetic background of populations when inferring causal links between epigenetic variation and environmental heterogeneity in wild populations.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03128511
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Submitted on : Thursday, March 25, 2021 - 9:57:17 AM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 10:50:55 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, June 26, 2021 - 6:21:43 PM

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Laura Fargeot, Géraldine Loot, Jérôme Prunier, Olivier Rey, Charlotte Veyssière, et al.. Patterns of Epigenetic Diversity in Two Sympatric Fish Species: Genetic vs. Environmental Determinants. Genes, MDPI, 2021, 12 (1), pp.107. ⟨10.3390/genes12010107⟩. ⟨hal-03128511⟩

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