Gene Bionetworks Involved in the Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Altered Mate Preference: Environmental Epigenetics and Evolutionary Biology
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Mate preference behavior is an essential first step in sexual selection and is a critical determinant in evolutionary biology. Previously an environmental compound (the fungicide vinclozolin) was found to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of an altered sperm epigenome and modified mate preference characteristics for three generations after exposure of a gestating female. Results: The current study investigated gene networks involved in various regions of the brain that correlated with the altered mate preference behavior in the male and female. Statistically significant correlations of gene clusters and modules were identified to associate with specific mate preference behaviors. This novel systems biology approach identified gene networks (bionetworks) involved in sex-specific mate preference behavior. Observations demonstrate the ability of environmental factors to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of this altered evolutionary biology determinant. Conclusions: Combined observations elucidate the potential molecular control of mate preference behavior and suggests environmental epigenetics can have a role in evolutionary biology.