Dr. Rittschofa et al. recently performed a comparative genomics approach to determine whether shared neuromolecular mechanisms could underlie behavioral response to territory intrusion. The researchers used the NEXTflex Rapid Directional RNA-Seq Kit to prepare Illumina RNA-Seq libraries from brains of a broad phylogenetic range of animals, including the house mouse, stickleback fish, and honey bee. Their results, published in PNAS, indicated that territory intrusion modulated similar brain functional processes in each species. Changes in chromosome organization and energy metabolism appear to be conserved processes involved in the response to territory intrusion. They also found that several homologous transcription factors that are typically associated with neural development were modulated across all three species. These results provide support for conserved genetic “toolkits” that are used in independent evolutions of the response to social challenge in diverse taxa.
Rittschofa, C. C., et al. (2014) Neuromolecular responses to social challenge: Common mechanisms across mouse, stickleback fish, and honey bee. PNAS. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1420369111.