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Naif S Sannan, Xianghong Shan, Kevin Gregory-Evans, Kenro Kusumi, Cheryl Y Gregory-Evans
The fovea is an anatomical specialization of the central retina containing closely packed cone-photoreceptors providing an area of high acuity vision in humans and primates. Despite its key role in the clarity of vision, little is known about the molecular and cellular basis of foveal development, due to the absence of a foveal structure in commonly used laboratory animal models. Of the amniotes the retina in birds of prey and some reptiles do exhibit a typical foveal structure, but they have not been studied in the context of foveal development due to lack of availability of embryonic tissue, lack of captive breeding programs, and limited genomic information...
May 15, 2018: Experimental Eye Research
Simon Baeckens, Tess Driessens, Raoul Van Damme
Animal signalling structures are amongst the most variable characteristics, as they are subjected to a diversity of selection pressures. A well-known example of a diverse signalling system in the animal kingdom is the dewlap of Anolis lizards. Dewlap characteristics can vary remarkably among and within species, and also between sexes. Although a considerable amount of studies have attempted to disentangle the functional significance of the staggering dewlap diversity in Anolis , the underlying evolutionary processes remain elusive...
2018: PeerJ
Michael L Logan, John David Curlis, Anthony L Gilbert, Donald B Miles, Albert K Chung, Joel W McGlothlin, Robert M Cox
Ectothermic species are particularly sensitive to changes in temperature and may adapt to changes in thermal environments through evolutionary shifts in thermal physiology or thermoregulatory behaviour. Nevertheless, the heritability of thermal traits, which sets a limit on evolutionary potential, remains largely unexplored. In this study, we captured brown anole lizards ( Anolis sagrei ) from two populations that occur in contrasting thermal environments. We raised offspring from these populations in a laboratory common garden and compared the shape of their thermal performance curves to test for genetic divergence in thermal physiology...
May 16, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Daren C Card, Drew R Schield, Todd A Castoe
How does climate variation limit the range of species and what does it take for species to colonize new regions? In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Campbell-Staton et al. () address these broad questions by investigating cold tolerance adaptation in the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis) across a latitudinal transect. By integrating physiological data, gene expression data and acclimation experiments, the authors disentangle the mechanisms underlying cold adaptation. They first establish that cold tolerance adaptation in Anolis lizards follows the predictions of the oxygen- and capacity-limited thermal tolerance hypothesis, which states that organisms are limited by temperature thresholds at which oxygen supply cannot meet demand...
May 2018: Molecular Ecology
Simon Baeckens, Tess Driessens, Katleen Huyghe, Bieke Vanhooydonck, Raoul Van Damme
In many animals, male secondary sexual traits advertise reliable information on fighting capacity in a male-male context. The iconic sexual signaling device of anole lizards, the dewlap, has been extensively studied in this respect. For several territorial anole species (experiencing strong intrasexual selection), there is evidence for a positive association between dewlap size and bite capacity, which is an important determinant of combat outcome in lizards. Intriguingly, earlier studies did not find this expected correlation (relative dewlap size-relative bite force) in the highly territorial brown anole lizard, Anolis sagrei...
April 25, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Alexander T Xue, Robert P Ruggiero, Michael J Hickerson, Stéphane Boissinot
Variation in LINE composition is one of the major determinants for the substantial size and structural differences among vertebrate genomes. In particular, the larger genomes of mammals are characterized by hundreds of thousands of copies from a single LINE clade, L1, whereas non-mammalian vertebrates possess a much greater diversity of LINEs, yet with orders of magnitude less in copy number. It has been proposed that such variation in copy number among vertebrates is due to differential effect of LINE insertions on host fitness...
April 23, 2018: Genome Biology and Evolution
Martina Gregorovicova, David Sedmera, Bjarke Jensen
Squamate reptiles appear to lack the specialized His/Purkinje system that enables the cardiac ventricle to be activated from apex to base as in mammals and birds. Instead, activation may simply spread from where the atrioventricular canal connects to the base. Gja5 , which encodes Cx40 that allows fast impulse propagation, was expressed throughout the ventricles of developing anole lizards. Activation was optically recorded in developing corn snake and central bearded dragon. Early embryonic ventricles were broad in shape, and activation propagated from the base to the right...
April 19, 2018: Journal of Experimental Biology
Alex R Gunderson, D Luke Mahler, Manuel Leal
Elucidating how ecological and evolutionary mechanisms interact to produce and maintain biodiversity is a fundamental problem in evolutionary ecology. Here, we focus on how physiological evolution affects performance and species coexistence along the thermal niche axis in replicated radiations of Anolis lizards best known for resource partitioning based on morphological divergence. We find repeated divergence in thermal physiology within these radiations, and that this divergence significantly affects performance within natural thermal environments...
April 25, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
P R Pearson, D A Warner
Seasonal shifts in environmental conditions provide predictable cues to which organisms can respond in adaptive ways. For example, seasonal changes in temperature can induce phenotypes at different times of the year that have season-specific fitness benefits. Here, we tested the hypothesis that embryo responses to seasonal changes in thermal environments are adaptively matched to the timing of reproduction (environmental-matching hypothesis). We collected eggs of the brown anole lizard ( Anolis sagrei ) from early and late seasons, and exposed them to early and late thermal regimes that mimic nest temperatures...
March 14, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Ambika Kamath, Jonathan B Losos
How individuals move through their environment dictates which other individuals they encounter, determining their social and reproductive interactions and the extent to which they experience sexual selection. Specifically, females rarely have the option of mating with all males in a population-they can only choose among the males they encounter. Further, quantifying phenotypic differences between the males that females encounter and those that sire females' offspring lends insight into how social and reproductive interactions shape male phenotypes...
February 28, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Beth A Reinke, Yasmeen Erritouni, Ryan Calsbeek
The maternal allocation of carotenoids to eggs has been widely documented and manipulated. However, it is often assumed that the sole adaptive value of this allocation is to increase offspring fitness. Because carotenoids can be pro-oxidants or antioxidants depending on their concentrations and their chemical environment (i.e. presence of other antioxidants), dams may need to dispose of excess carotenoids upon depletion of other antioxidants to prevent oxidative damage. Additionally, the amount of carotenoids deposited in eggs may be dependent on male traits such as quality and coloration...
April 2018: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Marc Tollis, Elizabeth D Hutchins, Jessica Stapley, Shawn M Rupp, Walter L Eckalbar, Inbar Maayan, Eris Lasku, Carlos R Infante, Stuart R Dennis, Joel A Robertson, Catherine M May, Michael R Crusoe, Eldredge Bermingham, Dale F DeNardo, Shi-Tong Tonia Hsieh, Rob J Kulathinal, William Owen McMillan, Douglas B Menke, Stephen C Pratt, Jeffery Alan Rawls, Oris Sanjur, Jeanne Wilson-Rawls, Melissa A Wilson Sayres, Rebecca E Fisher, Kenro Kusumi
Squamates include all lizards and snakes, and display some of the most diverse and extreme morphological adaptations among vertebrates. However, compared with birds and mammals, relatively few resources exist for comparative genomic analyses of squamates, hampering efforts to understand the molecular bases of phenotypic diversification in such a speciose clade. In particular, the ∼400 species of anole lizard represent an extensive squamate radiation. Here, we sequence and assemble the draft genomes of three anole species-Anolis frenatus, Anolis auratus, and Anolis apletophallus-for comparison with the available reference genome of Anolis carolinensis...
February 1, 2018: Genome Biology and Evolution
Catherine Tylan, Tracy Langkilde
The phytohemagglutinin (PHA) skin test is commonly used by ecologists to assess cell-mediated immune function of wild animals. It can be performed quickly and easily in the field, involving injection of PHA and measurement of the resultant swelling. There are multiple formulations of PHA used in ecological studies, with potentially differing outcomes that could produce inconsistent results. We tested two common types of PHA in the green anole (Anolis carolinensis) to identify local and systemic immune responses underlying the resultant swelling at 6, 18, 24, and 48 hr post injection...
June 2017: Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part A, Ecological and Integrative Physiology
Austin C Hulbert, Timothy S Mitchell, Joshua M Hall, Cassia M Guiffre, Danielle C Douglas, Daniel A Warner
Many studies of phenotypic plasticity alter environmental conditions during embryonic development, yet only measure phenotypes at the neonatal stage (after embryonic development). However, measuring aspects of embryo physiology enhances our understanding of how environmental factors immediately affect embryos, which aids our understanding of developmental plasticity. While current research on reptile developmental plasticity has demonstrated that fluctuating incubation temperatures affect development differently than constant temperatures, most research on embryo physiology is still performed with constant temperature experiments...
August 2017: Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part A, Ecological and Integrative Physiology
John David Curlis, Ryan William Davis, Emily Zetkulic, Christian L Cox
In many species, sexually selected combat and display traits can confer dramatic fitness benefits to males by aiding in mate acquisition, so individuals maximally invest energy into their growth and maintenance. Such traits are deemed condition-dependent, as the energy that is available for investment depends on the health and condition of the individual. Condition dependence is present in a wide range of traits across many taxa, but the extent to which condition dependence varies among shared traits in closely related species is poorly understood...
February 2017: Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part A, Ecological and Integrative Physiology
Michele A Johnson, Bonnie K Kircher, Diego J Castro
The motor systems that produce behavioral movements are among the primary targets for the action of steroid hormones, including androgens. Androgens such as testosterone bind to androgen receptors (AR) to induce physiological changes in the size, strength, and energetic capacity of skeletal muscles, which can directly influence the performance of behaviors in which those muscles are used. Because tissues differentially express AR, resulting in tissue-specific sensitivity to androgens, AR expression may be a major target of selection for the evolution of behavior...
January 2018: Journal of Comparative Physiology. A, Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Blake V Dickson, Emma Sherratt, Jonathan B Losos, Stephanie E Pierce
Anoli s lizards are a model system for the study of adaptive radiation and convergent evolution. Greater Antillean anoles have repeatedly evolved six similar forms or ecomorphs: crown-giant, grass-bush, twig, trunk, trunk-crown and trunk-ground. Members of each ecomorph category possess a specific set of morphological, ecological and behavioural characteristics which have been acquired convergently. Here we test whether the semicircular canal system-the organ of balance during movement-is also convergent among ecomorphs, reflecting the shared sensory requirements of their ecological niches...
October 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Ray Marin, Diego Cortez, Francesco Lamanna, Madapura M Pradeepa, Evgeny Leushkin, Philippe Julien, Angélica Liechti, Jean Halbert, Thoomke Brüning, Katharina Mössinger, Timo Trefzer, Christian Conrad, Halie N Kerver, Juli Wade, Patrick Tschopp, Henrik Kaessmann
Sex chromosomes differentiated from different ancestral autosomes in various vertebrate lineages. Here, we trace the functional evolution of the XY Chromosomes of the green anole lizard ( Anolis carolinensis ), on the basis of extensive high-throughput genome, transcriptome and histone modification sequencing data and revisit dosage compensation evolution in representative mammals and birds with substantial new expression data. Our analyses show that Anolis sex chromosomes represent an ancient XY system that originated at least ≈160 million years ago in the ancestor of Iguania lizards, shortly after the separation from the snake lineage...
December 2017: Genome Research
Tom Hellebuyck, Karl Questel, Frank Pasmans, Leen Van Brantegem, Pascal Philip, An Martel
Infectious diseases affecting wildlife are drivers of global biodiversity loss. Here we report a bacterial threat to endangered wild reptiles. Since April 2011, a severe skin disease has affected free-ranging, endangered Lesser Antillean iguanas (Iguana delicatissima) on the French Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy and we identified Devriesea agamarum as the causative agent. The presence of this bacterium was also demonstrated in healthy lizards (anoles) co-inhabiting the island. All isolates from the iguanas corresponded to a single AFLP genotype that until now has exclusively been associated with infections in lizard species in captivity...
October 2, 2017: Scientific Reports
Travis J Hagey, Scott Harte, Mathew Vickers, Luke J Harmon, Lin Schwarzkopf
Ecomorphology links microhabitat and morphology. By comparing ecomorphological associations across clades, we can investigate the extent to which evolution can produce similar solutions in response to similar challenges. While Anolis lizards represent a well-studied example of repeated convergent evolution, very few studies have investigated the ecomorphology of geckos. Similar to anoles, gekkonid lizards have independently evolved adhesive toe pads and many species are scansorial. We quantified gecko and anole limb length and microhabitat use, finding that geckos tend to have shorter limbs than anoles...
2017: PloS One
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