DNA methylation variation in the brain of laying hens in relation to differential behavioral patterns

Guerrero-Bosagna, Carlos; Pértille, Fábio; Gómez, Yamenah; Rezaei, Shiva; Gebhardt, Sabine; Vögeli, Sabine; Stratmann, Ariane; Völkl, Bernhard; Toscano, Michael J. (2020). DNA methylation variation in the brain of laying hens in relation to differential behavioral patterns. Comparative biochemistry and physiology Part D: Genomics and proteomics, 35, p. 100700. Elsevier 10.1016/j.cbd.2020.100700

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Domesticated animals are unique to investigate the contribution of genetic and non-genetic factors to specific phenotypes. Among non-genetic factors involved in phenotype formation are epigenetic mechanisms. Here we aimed to identify whether relative DNA methylation differences in the nidopallium between groups of individuals are among the non-genetic factors involved in the emergence of differential behavioral patterns in hens. The nidopallium was selected due to its important role in complex cognitive function (i.e., decision making) in birds. Behavioral patterns that spontaneously emerge in hens living in a highly controlled environment were identified with a unique tracking system that recorded their transitions between pen zones. Behavioral activity patterns were characterized through three classification schemes: (i) daily specific features of behavioral routines (Entropy), (ii) daily spatio-temporal activity patterns (Dynamic Time Warping), and (iii) social leading behavior (Leading Index). Unique differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were identified between behavioral patterns emerging within classification schemes, with entropy having the higher number. Functionally, DTW had double the proportion of affected promoters and half of the distal intergenic regions. Pathway enrichment analysis of DMR-associated genes revealed that Entropy relates mainly to cell cycle checkpoints, Leading Index to mitochondrial function, and DTW to gene expression regulation. Our study suggests that different biological functions within neurons (particularly in the nidopallium) could be responsible for the emergence of distinct behavior patterns and that epigenetic variation within brain tissues would be an important factor to explain behavioral variation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > Veterinary Public Health / Herd Health Management
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute > Animal Welfare Division
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)

UniBE Contributor:

Gómez, Yamenah; Gebhardt, Sabine; Stratmann, Ariane; Völkl, Bernhard and Toscano, Michael Jeffrey

Subjects:

600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

1744-117X

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Lilian Karin Smith-Wirth

Date Deposited:

14 Jul 2020 10:51

Last Modified:

03 Jun 2021 02:30

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.cbd.2020.100700

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.145123

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/145123

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