The social brain: transcriptome assembly and characterization of the hippocampus from a social subterranean rodent, the colonial tuco-tuco (Ctenomys sociabilis).

Academic Article


  • Elucidating the genetic mechanisms that underlie complex adaptive phenotypes is a central problem in evolutionary biology. For behavioral biologists, the ability to link variation in gene expression to the occurrence of specific behavioral traits has long been a largely unobtainable goal. Social interactions with conspecifics represent a fundamental component of the behavior of most animal species. Although several studies of mammals have attempted to uncover the genetic bases for social relationships using a candidate gene approach, none have attempted more comprehensive, transcriptome-based analyses using high throughout sequencing. As a first step toward improved understanding of the genetic underpinnings of mammalian sociality, we generated a reference transcriptome for the colonial tuco-tuco (Ctenomys sociabilis), a social species of subterranean rodent that is endemic to southwestern Argentina. Specifically, we analyzed over 500 million Illumina sequencing reads derived from the hippocampi of 10 colonial tuco-tucos housed in captivity under a variety of social conditions. The resulting reference transcriptome provides a critical tool for future studies aimed at exploring relationships between social environment and gene expression in this non-model species of social mammal.
  • Authors

  • MacManes, Matthew
  • Lacey, Eileen A
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • 2012
  • Published In

  • PLoS ONE  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Animals
  • Base Composition
  • Contig Mapping
  • Female
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Hippocampus
  • Rodentia
  • Social Behavior
  • Transcriptome
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • e45524
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 9