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Alexandre Lemopoulos

Postdoctoral fellow in Animal evolution and conservation

  • T: +41 22 379 30 67
  • office 4081a (Sciences III)
  • Whole genome assembly of the armored loricariid catfish Ancistrus triradiatus highlights herbivory signatures. Mol Genet Genomics 2022 Aug;():. 10.1007/s00438-022-01947-6. 10.1007/s00438-022-01947-6.

    abstract

    The catfish Ancistrus triradiatus belongs to the species-rich family Loricariidae. Loricariids display remarkable traits such as herbivory, a benthic lifestyle, the absence of scales but the presence of dermal bony plates. They are exported as ornamental fish worldwide, with escaped fishes becoming a threat locally. Although genetic and phylogenetic studies are continuously increasing and developmental genetic investigations are underway, no genome assembly has been formally proposed for Loricariidae yet. We report a high-quality genome assembly of Ancistrus triradiatus using long and short reads, and a newly assembled transcriptome. The genome assembly is composed of 9530 scaffolds, including 85.6% of ray-finned fish BUSCOs, and 26,885 predicted protein-coding genes. The genomic GC content is higher than in other catfishes, reflecting the higher metabolism associated with herbivory. The examination of the SCPP gene family indicates that the genes presumably triggering scale loss when absent, are present in the scaleless A. triradiatus, questioning their explanatory role. The analysis of the opsin gene repertoire revealed that gene losses associated to the nocturnal lifestyle of catfishes were not entirely found in A. triradiatus, as the UV-sensitive opsin 5 is present. Finally, most gene family expansions were related to immunity except the gamma crystallin gene family which controls pupil shape and sub-aquatic vision. Thus, the genome of A. triradiatus reveals that fish herbivory may be related to the photic zone habitat, conditions metabolism, photoreception and visual functions. This genome is the first for the catfish suborder Loricarioidei and will serve as backbone for future genetic, developmental and conservation studies.

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  • From scales to armor: Scale losses and trunk bony plate gains in ray-finned fishes. Evol Lett 2021 Jun;5(3):240-250. 10.1002/evl3.219. EVL3219. PMC8190451.

    abstract

    Actinopterygians (ray-finned fishes) are the most diversified group of vertebrates and are characterized by a variety of protective structures covering their integument, the evolution of which has intrigued biologists for decades. Paleontological records showed that the first mineralized vertebrate skeleton was composed of dermal bony plates covering the body, including odontogenic and skeletogenic components. Later in evolution, the exoskeleton of actinopterygian's trunk was composed of scale structures. Although scales are nowadays a widespread integument cover, some contemporary lineages do not have scales but bony plates covering their trunk, whereas other lineages are devoid of any such structures. To understand the evolution of the integument coverage and particularly the transition between different structures, we investigated the pattern of scale loss events along with actinopterygian evolution and addressed the functional relationship between the scaleless phenotype and the ecology of fishes. Furthermore, we examined whether the emergence of trunk bony plates was dependent over the presence or absence of scales. To this aim, we used two recently published actinopterygian phylogenies, one including >11,600 species, and by using stochastic mapping and Bayesian methods, we inferred scale loss events and trunk bony plate acquisitions. Our results reveal that a scaled integument is the most frequent state in actinopterygians, but multiple independent scale loss events occurred along their phylogeny with essentially no scale re-acquisition. Based on linear mixed models, we found evidence supporting that after a scale loss event, fishes tend to change their ecology and adopt a benthic lifestyle. Furthermore, we show that trunk bony plates appeared independently multiple times along the phylogeny. By using fitted likelihood models for character evolution, we show that trunk bony plate acquisitions were dependent on a previous scale loss event. Overall, our findings support the hypothesis that integument cover is a key evolutionary trait underlying actinopterygian radiation.

    view more details on Pubmed

  • From scales to armor: Scale losses and trunk bony plate gains in ray‐finned fishes Evolution Letters. https://doi.org/10.1002/evl3.219

    abstract

    Actinopterygians (ray‐finned fishes) are the most diversified group of vertebrates and are characterized by a variety of protective structures covering their integument, the evolution of which has intrigued biologists for decades. Paleontological records showed that the first mineralized vertebrate skeleton was composed of dermal bony plates covering the body, including odontogenic and skeletogenic components. Later in evolution, the exoskeleton of actinopterygian's trunk was composed of scale structures. Although scales are nowadays a widespread integument cover, some contemporary lineages do not have scales but bony plates covering their trunk, whereas other lineages are devoid of any such structures. To understand the evolution of the integument coverage and particularly the transition between different structures, we investigated the pattern of scale loss events along with actinopterygian evolution and addressed the functional relationship between the scaleless phenotype and the ecology of fishes. Furthermore, we examined whether the emergence of trunk bony plates was dependent over the presence or absence of scales. To this aim, we used two recently published actinopterygian phylogenies, one including >11,600 species, and by using stochastic mapping and Bayesian methods, we inferred scale loss events and trunk bony plate acquisitions. Our results reveal that a scaled integument is the most frequent state in actinopterygians, but multiple independent scale loss events occurred along their phylogeny with essentially no scale re‐acquisition. Based on linear mixed models, we found evidence supporting that after a scale loss event, fishes tend to change their ecology and adopt a benthic lifestyle. Furthermore, we show that trunk bony plates appeared independently multiple times along the phylogeny. By using fitted likelihood models for character evolution, we show that trunk bony plate acquisitions were dependent on a previous scale loss event. Overall, our findings support the hypothesis that integument cover is a key evolutionary trait underlying actinopterygian radiation.

    see on external website

  • From scales to armour: scale losses and trunk bony plate gains in ray-finned fishes BioRxiv, https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.09.09.288886

    abstract

    Actinopterygians (ray-finned fishes) are the most diversified group of vertebrates and are characterized by a variety of protective structures covering their tegument, the evolution of which has intrigued biologists for decades. Paleontological records showed that the first mineralized vertebrate skeleton was composed of dermal bony plates covering the body, including odontogenic and skeletogenic components. Later in evolution, the exoskeleton of actinopterygian’s trunk was composed of scale structures. Although scales are nowadays a widespread tegument cover, some contemporary lineages do not have scales but bony plates covering their trunk, whereas other lineages are devoid of any such structures. To understand the evolution of the tegument coverage and particularly the transition between different structures, we investigated the pattern of scale loss events along actinopterygian evolution and addressed the functional relationship between the scaleless phenotype and the ecology of fishes. Furthermore, we examined whether the emergence of trunk bony plates was dependent over the presence or absence of scales. To this aim, we used two recently published actinopterygian phylogenies, one including > 11,000 species, and by using stochastic mapping and Bayesian methods, we inferred scale loss events and trunk bony plate acquisitions. Our results reveal that a scaled tegument is the most frequent state in actinopterygians, but multiple independent scale loss events occurred along their phylogeny with essentially no scale re-acquisition. Based on linear mixed models, we found evidence supporting that after a scale loss event, fishes tend to change their ecology and adopt a benthic lifestyle. Furthermore, we show that trunk bony plates appeared independently multiple times along the phylogeny. By using fitted likelihood models for character evolution, we show that trunk bony plate acquisitions were dependent over a previous scale loss event. Overall, our findings support the hypothesis that tegument cover is a key evolutionary trait underlying actinopterygian radiation.

    see on external website

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