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A chromosome-level genome assembly for the eastern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus), a reptile model for physiological and evolutionary ecology.Background High-quality genomic resources facilitate investigations into behavioral ecology, morphological and physiological adaptations, and the evolution of genomic architecture. Lizards in the genus Sceloporus have a long history as important ecological, evolutionary, and physiological models, making them a valuable target for the development of genomic resources. Findings We present a high-quality chromosome-level reference genome assembly, SceUnd1.0 (using 10X Genomics Chromium, HiC, and Pacific Biosciences data), and tissue/developmental stage transcriptomes for the eastern fence lizard, Sceloporus undulatus. We performed synteny analysis with other snake and lizard assemblies to identify broad patterns of chromosome evolution including the fusion of micro- and macrochromosomes. We also used this new assembly to provide improved reference-based genome assemblies for 34 additional Sceloporus species. Finally, we used RNAseq and whole-genome resequencing data to compare 3 assemblies, each representing an increased level of cost and effort: Supernova Assembly with data from 10X Genomics Chromium, HiRise Assembly that added data from HiC, and PBJelly Assembly that added data from Pacific Biosciences sequencing. We found that the Supernova Assembly contained the full genome and was a suitable reference for RNAseq and single-nucleotide polymorphism calling, but the chromosome-level scaffolds provided by the addition of HiC data allowed synteny and whole-genome associationmore »
Glucocorticoids do not influence a secondary sexual trait or its behavioral expression in eastern fence lizards
Secondary sexual traits and associated behaviors can be influenced by environmental factors such as exposure to stressors. Such effects may be mediated by the physiological stress response, which is typified by the release of glucocorticoid hormones. The effects of glucocorticoids on sexual traits such as plumage and display coloration have most commonly been studied in isolation rather than in conjunction with other pertinent aspects of signalling, such as behavior and habitat use, though these have substantial potential to alter signal perception. Here we test the effects of corticosterone (CORT), a common glucocorticoid, on a secondary sexual trait (badge coloration) in male eastern fence lizards (
Sceloporus undulatus), and behaviors associated with its expression. We show that neither baseline nor experimentally manipulated CORT levels were associated with badge coloration. Further, elevation of CORT levels in the field did not alter signalling or associated territorial behaviors. There was a trend for CORT-treatment to influence perch height selection, which may influence signal perception. We suggest that future studies investigating the effects of environmental stressors and associated physiological changes on secondary sexual traits should consider behaviors and ecology relevant to signal perception in order to best understand the influence of stressors in nature.