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Open AccessArticle

Multi-Tissue Transcriptomes Yield Information on High-Altitude Adaptation and Sex-Determination in Scutiger cf. sikimmensis

1
Department of Conservation Biology, UFZ-Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research, Permoserstrasse 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
2
Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Müggelseedamm 301, D-12587 Berlin, Germany
3
Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur 44618, Kathmandu, Nepal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2019, 10(11), 873; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10110873
Received: 30 September 2019 / Revised: 28 October 2019 / Accepted: 29 October 2019 / Published: 31 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Genetics of Reptiles and Amphibians)
The Himalayas are one of earth’s hotspots of biodiversity. Among its many cryptic and undiscovered organisms, including vertebrates, this complex high-mountain ecosystem is expected to harbour many species with adaptations to life in high altitudes. However, modern evolutionary genomic studies in Himalayan vertebrates are still at the beginning. Moreover, in organisms, like most amphibians with relatively high DNA content, whole genome sequencing remains bioinformatically challenging and no complete nuclear genomes are available for Himalayan amphibians. Here, we present the first well-annotated multi-tissue transcriptome of a Greater Himalayan species, the lazy toad Scutiger cf. sikimmensis (Anura: Megophryidae). Applying Illumina NextSeq 500 RNAseq to six tissues, we obtained 41.32 Gb of sequences, assembled to ~111,000 unigenes, translating into 54362 known genes as annotated in seven functional databases. We tested 19 genes, known to play roles in anuran and reptile adaptation to high elevations, and potentially detected diversifying selection for two (TGS1, SENP5) in Scutiger. Of a list of 37 genes, we also identify 27 candidate genes for sex determination or sexual development, all of which providing the first such data for this non-model megophryid species. These transcriptomes will serve as a valuable resource for further studies on amphibian evolution in the Greater Himalaya as a biodiversity hotspot. View Full-Text
Keywords: Megophryidae; RNA-seq; high-altitude-specific genes; sex determination Megophryidae; RNA-seq; high-altitude-specific genes; sex determination
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Hofmann, S.; Kuhl, H.; Baniya, C.B.; Stöck, M. Multi-Tissue Transcriptomes Yield Information on High-Altitude Adaptation and Sex-Determination in Scutiger cf. sikimmensis. Genes 2019, 10, 873.

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