Meeting Abstract

5-7  Thursday, Jan. 5 09:30 - 09:45  Gene expression associated with dispersal ability under different temperature conditions in the alpine butterfly, Parnassius smintheus JANGJOO, M*; MATTER, SF; BENOIT, JB; KEYGHOBADI, N; Univ. of Western Ontario, Canada; Univ. of Cincinnati, Ohio; Univ. of Cincinnati, Ohio; Univ. of Western Ontario, Canada mjangjoo@uwo.ca

Dispersal is a critical process affecting the dynamics, persistence and evolutionary trajectories of spatially structured populations. Flight capacity is a potentially important determinant of dispersal in animals capable of flight and, in insects, may be strongly affected by ambient and body temperature. The gene encoding the metabolic enzyme phosphoglucose isomerase (PGI), involved in providing energy for flight, is a well-endorsed candidate gene for dispersal in insects. We used RNA−seq technology to prepare an adult transcriptome for the alpine butterfly, Parnassius smintheus. Our goals were to (i) identify the coding sequence of Pgi, and (ii) profile gene expression patterns among individuals with differing dispersal histories and caught flying under different temperature conditions within a network of interconnected populations. We first pooled RNA−seq reads from all individuals to assemble a de novo reference transcriptome using multiple different assemblers (Trinity, CLC and Oases), and then identified the Pgi coding sequence. We are assessing sequence variation at the Pgi locus to explore whether specific genotypes are associated with flight at different temperatures and with greater dispersal. We are also conducting differential expression analysis to compare disperser and non-disperser individuals, as well as individuals captured during flight with higher versus lower body temperature as compared to air temperature. Our experimental analysis provides insights into genetic and environmental factors underlying flight and dispersal in this alpine insect.