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Genomic Signature Of Accelerated Evolution In A Saline-alkaline Lake-dwelling Schizothoracine Fish

Chao Tong, Miao Li

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AbstractTibetan Plateau imposes extremely inhospitable environment on most wildlife. Besides the harsh aquatic environment including hypoxia and chronic cold, high salinity and alkalinity is an increasing threat to Tibetan endemic fishes. Previous genome-wide studies identified key genes contributed to highland fish adaptation to hypoxia and long-term cold, while our understanding of saline and alkaline adaptation in Tibetan fish remains limited. In this study, we performed a comparative genomics analysis in a saline lake-dwelling highland fish Gymnocypris przewalskii, aimed to identify candidate genes that contributed to saline and alkaline adaptation. We found elevated genome-wide rate of molecular evolution in G. przewalskii relative to lowland teleost fish species. In addition, we found nine genes encoding biological macromolecules associated with ion transport functions underwent accelerated evolution in G. przewalskii, which broadly expressed across kidney, gill, liver, spleen, brain and muscle tissues. Moreover, we found putative evidence of ion transport under selection were interacted by co-expression in G. przewalskii adaptation to high salinity and alkalinity environment of Lake Qinghai. Taken together, our comparative genomics study identified a set of rapidly evolving ion transport genes and transcriptomic signatures in Schizothoracine fish adaptation to saline and alkaline environment on the Tibetan Plateau.