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Heredity (Edinb). 2008 Feb;100(2):184-90. Epub 2007 May 23.

Ecological genomics in Daphnia: stress responses and environmental sex determination.

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Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics, Department of Biology, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, IN 47405-3700, USA.


Ecological genomics is the study of adaptation of natural populations to their environment, and therefore seeks to link organism and population level processes through an understanding of genome organization and function. The planktonic microcrustacean Daphnia, which has long been an important system for ecology, is now being used as a genomic model as well. Here we review recent progress in selected areas of Daphnia genomics research. Production of parthenogenetic male offspring occurs through environmental cues, which clearly involves endocrine regulation and has also been studied as a toxicological response to juvenoid hormone analog insecticides. Recent progress has uncovered a putative juvenoid cis-response element, which together with microarray analysis will stimulate further research into nuclear hormone receptors and their associated transcriptional regulatory networks. Ecotoxicological studies indicate that mRNA profiling is a sensitive and specific research tool with promising applications in environmental monitoring and for uncovering conserved cellular processes. Rapid progress is expected to continue in these and other areas, as genomic tools for Daphnia become widely available to investigators.

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