Dosage Compensation by Gene-Copy Silencing in a Triploid Hybrid Fish

Curr Biol. 2008 Sep 9;18(17):1344-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.07.096.


In mammals, the increase in gene dosage, in the form of polyploidy or involving chromosomal fragments, has deleterious effects [1]. Regulation of appropriate gene product amounts has to be warranted by complex dosage-compensation mechanisms. Lower vertebrates, on the other hand, cope very well with ploidy increase [2-4], implying either effective compensation or a lack of necessity for such mechanisms. Unfortunately, nothing is known about the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. For an experimental approach, we have studied gene expression in the allotriploid form of Squalius alburnoides. In these organisms, different genomes are joined through hybridization; thus, sequence differences can be used to follow expression of different alleles [5, 6]. We found that a compensation mechanism exists, reducing transcript levels to the diploid state. Our data suggest a silencing of one of the three alleles. Unexpectedly, it is not a whole haplome that is inactivated. The allelic expression patterns differ between genes and between different tissues for one and the same gene. Our data provide the first evidence of a regulation mechanism involving gene-copy silencing in a triploid vertebrate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Cyprinidae / genetics*
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic / physiology*
  • Fish Proteins / genetics*
  • Fish Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Dosage*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Genome
  • Genotype
  • Gonads / metabolism
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Polyploidy*


  • Fish Proteins