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Gene Expression Networks in the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel

By Logan J. Everett, Wen Huang, Shanshan Zhou, Mary Anna Carbone, Richard F. Lyman, Gunjan H. Arya, Matthew S Geisz, Junwu Ma, Fabio Morgante, Genevieve St. Armour, Lavanya Turlapati, Robert R. H. Anholt, Trudy F. C. Mackay

Posted 24 Oct 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/816579 (published DOI: 10.1101/gr.257592.119)

A major challenge in modern biology is to understand how naturally occurring variation in DNA sequences affects complex organismal traits through networks of intermediate molecular phenotypes. Here, we performed deep RNA sequencing of 200 Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel inbred lines with complete genome sequences, and mapped expression quantitative trait loci for annotated genes, novel transcribed regions (most of which are long noncoding RNAs), transposable elements and microbial species. We identified host variants that affect expression of transposable elements, independent of their copy number, as well as microbiome composition. We constructed sex-specific expression quantitative trait locus regulatory networks. These networks are enriched for novel transcribed regions and target genes in heterochromatin and euchromatic regions of reduced recombination, and genes regulating transposable element expression. This study provides new insights regarding the role of natural genetic variation in regulating gene expression and generates testable hypotheses for future functional analyses.

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