PLoS ONE, 2012, Vol.7(2), p.e32092
Circadian rhythms pre-adapt the physiology of most organisms to predictable daily changes in the environment. Some marine organisms also show endogenous circalunar rhythms. The genetic basis of the circalunar clock and its interaction with the circadian clock is unknown. Both clocks can be studied in the marine midge Clunio marinus (Chironomidae, Diptera), as different populations have different local adaptations in their lunar and diurnal rhythms of adult emergence, which can be analyzed by crossing experiments. We investigated the genetic basis of population variation in clock properties by constructing the first genetic linkage map for this species, and performing quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis on variation in both lunar and diurnal timing. The genome has a genetic length of 167–193 centimorgans based on a linkage map using 344 markers, and a physical size of 95–140 megabases estimated by flow cytometry. Mapping the sex determining locus shows that females are the heterogametic sex, unlike most other Chironomidae. We identified two QTL each for lunar emergence time and diurnal emergence time. The distribution of QTL confirms a previously hypothesized genetic basis to a correlation of lunar and diurnal emergence times in natural populations. Mapping of clock genes and light receptors identified ciliary opsin 2 ( cOps2 ) as a candidate to be involved in both lunar and diurnal timing; cryptochrome 1 ( cry1 ) as a candidate gene for lunar timing; and two timeless ( tim2, tim3 ) genes as candidate genes for diurnal timing. This QTL analysis of lunar rhythmicity, the first in any species, provides a unique entree into the molecular analysis of the lunar clock.
Research Article ; Biology ; Genetics And Genomics ; Ecology ; Evolutionary Biology