Gene expression changes potentially play an important role in adaptive evolution under human-induced selection pressures, but this has been challenging to demonstrate in natural populations. Fishing exhibits strong selection pressure against large body size, thus potentially inducing evolutionary changes in life history and other traits that may be slowly reversible once fishing ceases. However, there is a lack of convincing examples regarding the speed and magnitude of fisheries-induced evolution, and thus, the relevant underlying molecular-level effects remain elusive. We use wild-origin zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a model for harvest-induced evolution. We experimentally demonstrate broad-scale gene expression changes induced by just five generations of size-selective harvesting, and limited genetic convergence following the cessation of harvesting. We also demonstrate significant allele frequencychanges in genes that were differentially expressed after five generations of sizeselective harvesting. We further show that nine generations of captive breeding induced substantial gene expression changes in control stocks likely due to inadvertent selection in the captive environment. The large extent and rapid pace of the gene expression changes caused by both harvest-induced selection and captive breeding emphasizes the need for evolutionary enlightened management towards sustainable fisheries.
Rapid, broad-scale gene expression evolution in experimentally harvested fish populations
Uusi-Heikkilä, S., Sävilammi, T., Leder, E., Arlinghaus, R., Primmer, C. R. (2017). Rapid, broad-scale gene expression evolution in experimentally harvested fish populations. Molecular Ecology, 26, 3954–3967
Erschienen in: Molecular Ecology, 26, 3954–3967