The African turquoise killifish, Nothobranchius furzeri, as a model for genetic regulation of suspended animation phenotypes

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Suspended animation states allow animals to persist in extreme environments while also slowing or resisting the progression of molecular damage and aging hallmarks, effectively gaining free 'biological time'. The African turquoise killifish, Nothobranchius fureri, has evolved a form of suspended development to survive complete drought of its natural habitat. This state, termed diapause, is extreme even among vertebrate states of suspended animation, able to persist for months or even years. But the mechanisms underlying the evolution of extreme survival states are unknown. To understand the evolution of diapause, we performed integrative multi-omics, including gene expression, chromatin accessibility, and lipidomics, in the embryos of multiple killifish species. Additionally, we generated an embryonic CRISPR screening platform to evaluate the role of key genes and transcription factors during diapause. Our analyses reveal that diapause evolved by a very recent remodeling of regulatory elements at very ancient gene duplicates (paralogs) present in all vertebrates. Transcription factors such as REST/NRSF, FOXOs, and PPARs are central to diapause evolution. These factors are likely implicated in a unique lipid metabolism, leading to accumulation of specific triglycerides -- with very long chain fatty acids -- in diapause. Our work suggests a mechanism for the evolution of complex adaptations and offers strategies to promote long-term survival by activating suspended animation programs in other species.


Type of resource text
Form electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
Extent 1 online resource.
Place California
Place [Stanford, California]
Publisher [Stanford University]
Copyright date 2022; ©2022
Publication date 2022; 2022
Issuance monographic
Language English


Author Reeves, Gregory Adam
Degree supervisor Brunet, Anne, 1972-
Thesis advisor Brunet, Anne, 1972-
Thesis advisor Baker, Julie, (Professor of genetics)
Thesis advisor Jarosz, Daniel
Thesis advisor Sherlock, Gavin
Degree committee member Baker, Julie, (Professor of genetics)
Degree committee member Jarosz, Daniel
Degree committee member Sherlock, Gavin
Associated with Stanford University, Department of Genetics


Genre Theses
Genre Text

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility G. Adam Reeves.
Note Submitted to the Department of Genetics.
Thesis Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2022.

Access conditions

© 2022 by Gregory Adam Reeves
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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