Color polymorphism in animals is a useful system to study evolutionary and developmental processes. However, the study of this trait is biased towards model organisms, while coloration in arachnids is less explored. Gasteracantha cancriformis is a neotropical spider that displays color polymorphism with at least 16 known morphs distributed from the southern United States to northern Argentina but, to date, the genetic basis underlying such polymorphism is unknown. In this study, I used RNAseq to generate a transcriptome assembly for Gasteracantha and assess differential gene expression between three different color morphs: white, yellow and orange. I also explored whether single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) across the transcriptome display any association with coloration. Overall, the gene expression profile of the yellow and orange morphs was similar, and they both differed from the white morph. Consistently, at nucleotide level I found that SNPs in the differential expressed transcripts cluster orange and yellow morphs together while the white morph appears more differentiated. Also, I detected higher expression levels of astacin and vitellogenin genes in the yellow and orange morphs, suggesting that these colorations in G. cancriformis are due to carotenoids. The data obtained in this study provide a valuable genetic resource for future studies on neotropical spiders and constitute a step towards the identification of the genetic basis of color polymorphism in these animals.
|Translated title of the contribution||Characterization of the transcriptome of color-polymorphic spider Gasteracantha cacriformis, with special reference to pigment genes|
|Original language||Spanish (Colombia)|
|State||Published - Jul 24 2020|