Gene expression is implicated in the ability of pikas to occupy Himalayan elevational gradient.
|Title||Gene expression is implicated in the ability of pikas to occupy Himalayan elevational gradient.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2018|
|Authors||Solari KA, Ramakrishnan U, Hadly EA|
Species are shifting their ranges due to climate change, many moving to cooler and higher locations. However, with elevation increase comes oxygen decline, potentially limiting a species' ability to track its environment depending on what mechanisms it has available to compensate for hypoxic stress. Pikas (Family Ochotonidae), cold-specialist small mammal species, are already undergoing elevational range shifts. We collected RNA samples from one population of Ochotona roylei in the western Himalaya at three sites- 3,600, 4,000, and 5,000 meters-and found no evidence of significant population genetic structure nor positive selection among sites. However, out of over 10,000 expressed transcripts, 26 were significantly upregulated at the 5,000 m site and were significantly enriched for pathways consistent with physiological compensation for limited oxygen. These results suggest that differences in gene expression may play a key role in enabling hypoxia tolerance on this local scale, indicating elevational flexibility that may facilitate successful range shifts in response to climate change.
|Alternate Journal||PLoS ONE|