The genetic basis of behavioral "handedness" in scale-eating cichlid fish
Abstract Left-right (L-R) asymmetry in morphology or handedness in behavior is well-known from several groups of animals. The scale-eating cichlid fish, Perissodus microlepis, from Lake Tanganyika, Africa, exhibits a strikingly asymmetry in their heads that are either left-bending or right-bending and serve to attack their victim fish from either only their right or left sides. This remarkable dimorphism in these fish made them a famous textbook example of extreme ecological specialization and for negative frequency-dependent selection as 50% of the population are L and the other 50% are R.
This special adaptation is one of the focal research areas of the Meyer-Lab. We are looking for a PhD student who is interested in genetic [e.g. QTL (Quantitative Trait Loci) mapping] and population genomic [e.g. RAD-seq (Restriction Associated DNA sequencing)] analyses of this laterality using next-generation DNA sequencing technologies (e.g. Illumina platform), that is available in the Genomics Center of the University of Konstanz. This genetic/genomics work will help to uncover the genetic basis of the behavioral/morphological laterality in this species. The project involves behavioral, morphological, genetic/genomics analyses of the scale-eating cichlids of Lake Tanganyika in Africa.
Keywords left-right asymmetry, laterality, dimorphism, ecological specialization, QTL mapping, population genomics, next-generation sequencing
Main advisor Axel Meyer, University of Konstanz