Supporting information for: Lenkov K, Lee MH, Lenkov OD, Swafford A, Fernald RD (2015) Epigenetic DNA Methylation Linked to Social Dominance. PLoS ONE 10(12):e0144750. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0144750
Social status hierarchies are ubiquitous in vertebrate social systems, including humans. It is well known that social rank can influence quality of life dramatically among members of social groups. For example, high-ranking individuals have greater access to resources, including food and mating prerogatives that, in turn, have a positive impact on their reproductive success and health. In contrast low ranking individuals typically have limited reproductive success and may experience lasting social and physiological costs. Ultimately, social rank and behavior are regulated by changes in gene expression. However, little is known about mechanisms that transduce social cues into transcriptional changes. Since social behavior is a dynamic process, we hypothesized that a molecular mechanism such as DNA methylation might play a role these changes. To test this hypothesis, we used an African cichlid fish, Astatotilapia burtoni, in which social rank dictates reproductive access. We show that manipulating global DNA methylation state strongly biases the outcomes of social encounters. Injecting DNA methylating and de-methylating agents in low status animals competing for status, we found that animals with chemically increased methylation states were statistically highly likely to ascend in rank. In contrast, those with inhibited methylation processes and thus lower methylation levels were statistically highly unlikely to ascend in rank.. This suggests that among its many roles, DNA methylation may be linked to social status and more generally to social behavior.
This file contains supporting material for the original article.
|Type of resource
|December 10, 2015
|Fernald, Russell D.
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Kapa Lenkov, Mi H. Lee, Olga D. Lenkov, Andrew Swafford, Russell D. Fernald
Published: December 30, 2015DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144750
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