Seasonal timing of breeding is a life history trait with major fitness consequences but the genetic basis of the physiological mechanism underlying it, and how gene expression is affected by date and temperature, is not well known. In order to study this, we measured patterns of gene expression over different time points in three different tissues of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal-liver axis, and investigated specifically how temperature affects this axis during breeding. We studied female great tits (Parus major) from lines artificially selected for early and late timing of breeding that were housed in two contrasting temperature environments in climate-controlled aviaries. We collected hypothalamus, liver and ovary samples at three different time points (before and after onset of egg-laying). For each tissue, we sequenced whole transcriptomes of 12 pools (n = 3 females) to analyse gene expression.
Laine, V. N., Verhagen, I., Mateman, A. C., Pijl, A., Williams, T. D., Gienapp, P., van Oers, K., & Visser, M. E. (2019). Exploration of tissue-specific gene expression patterns underlying timing of breeding in contrasting temperature environments in a song bird. BMC Genomics, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-6043-0