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Transcriptomic underpinnings of high and low mirror aggression zebrafish behaviours

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    • Publication Information:
      BioMed Central
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      PubMed Central (PMC)
    • Abstract:
      BACKGROUND: Aggression is an adaptive behaviour that animals use to protect offspring, defend themselves and obtain resources. Zebrafish, like many other animals, are not able to recognize themselves in the mirror and typically respond to their own reflection with aggression. However, mirror aggression is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon, with some individuals displaying high levels of aggression against their mirror image, while others show none at all. In the current work, we have investigated the genetic basis of mirror aggression by using a classic forward genetics approach - selective breeding for high and low mirror aggression zebrafish (HAZ and LAZ). RESULTS: We characterized AB wild-type zebrafish for their response to the mirror image. Both aggressive and non-aggressive fish were inbred over several generations. We found that HAZ were on average more aggressive than the corresponding LAZ across generations and that the most aggressive adult HAZ were less anxious than the least aggressive adult LAZ after prolonged selective breeding. RNAseq analysis of these fish revealed that hundreds of protein-encoding genes with important diverse biological functions such as arsenic metabolism (as3mt), cell migration (arl4ab), immune system activity (ptgr1), actin cytoskeletal remodelling (wdr1), corticogenesis (dgcr2), protein dephosphorylation (ublcp1), sialic acid metabolism (st6galnac3) and ketone body metabolism (aacs) were differentially expressed between HAZ and LAZ, suggesting a strong genetic contribution to this phenotype. DAVID pathway analysis showed that a number of diverse pathways are enriched in HAZ over LAZ including pathways related to immune function, oxidation-reduction processes and cell signalling. In addition, weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) identified 12 modules of highly correlated genes that were significantly associated with aggression duration and/or experimental group. CONCLUSIONS: The current study shows that selective breeding based of the mirror aggression ...
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      © The Author(s) 2022 ; AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit ( . The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( ( ) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
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