Differential Expression in Testis and Liver Transcriptomes from Four Species of Peromyscus (Rodentia: Cricetidae)

Laramie L. Lindsey, Roy N. Platt, Caleb D. Phillips, David A. Ray, Robert D. Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The genus Peromyscus represents a rapidly diverged clade of Cricetid rodents that contains multiple cryptic species and has a propensity for morphologic conservation across its members. The unresolved relationships in previously proposed phylogenies reflect a suspected rapid adaptive radiation. To identify functional groups of genes that may be important in reproductive isolation in a reoccurring fashion across the Peromyscus phylogeny, liver and testis transcriptomes from four species (P. attwateri, P. boylii, P. leucopus, and P. maniculatus) were generated and differential expression (DE) tests were conducted. Taxa were selected to represent members diverged from a common ancestor: P. attwateri + P. boylii (clade A), and P. leucopus + P. maniculatus (clade B). Comparison of clades (A vs. B) suggested that 252 transcripts had significant DE in the liver data set, whereas significant DE was identified for 657 transcripts in the testis data set. Further, 45 genes had DE isoforms in the 657 testis transcripts and most of these functioned in major reproductive roles such as acrosome assembly, spermatogenesis, and cell cycle processes (meiosis). DE transcripts in the liver mapped to more broad gene ontology terms (metabolic processes, catabolic processes, response to chemical, and regulatory processes), and DE transcripts in the testis mapped to gene ontology terms associated with reproductive processes, such as meiosis, sperm motility, acrosome assembly, and sperm-egg fusion. These results suggest that a suite of genes that conduct similar functions in the testes may be responsible for the adaptive radiation events and potential reoccurring speciation of Peromyscus in terms of reproduction through varying expression levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3698-3709
Number of pages12
JournalGenome biology and evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 16 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


  • Peromyscus
  • comparative genomics
  • differential expression
  • lineage diversification
  • transcriptome


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