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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Orono, Maine » National Cold Water Marine Aquaculture Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #324482

Research Project: Genetic Improvement Of Marine Fish and Shellfish

Location: National Cold Water Marine Aquaculture Center

Title: Genetic basis for evolved tolerance to dioxin-like pollutants in wild Atlantic killifish: more than the aryl hydrocarbon receptor

item NACCI, DIANE - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Proestou, Dina
item CHAMPLIN, DENISE - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item MARTINSON, JOHN - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item WAITS, ERIC - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item CLARK, BRYAN - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item KARCHNER, SIBEL - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI)
item HAHN, MARK - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI)

Submitted to: Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) resident to some US urban and industrialized estuaries demonstrate recently evolved and extreme tolerance to toxic dioxin-like compounds (DLCs). Here we provide an unusually comprehensive accounting (69%) through Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) analysis of the genetic basis for DLC tolerance in killifish resident to a PCB-contaminated Superfund site. Consistent with mechanistic knowledge of DLC toxicity in fish and other vertebrates, the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (ahr2) region accounts for 17% of trait variation; however, QTLs on an independent linkage group and their interactions have even greater explanatory power (44%). One QTL was also enriched in geographically disparate DLC-tolerant killifish populations, suggesting convergence in this independently evolving intra-specific trait. Research now focuses on genetic variation in one candidate gene nearby to this QTL, and its potentially causal role in DLC-tolerance. Together, results interpreted by leveraging Fundulus genomic resources and shared synteny among fish species suggest adaptation via inter-acting components of a complex stress response network, and provide new insight into genetic mechanisms of rapid evolution in the wild.