Sequence analyses of the distal-less homeobox gene family in East African cichlid fishes reveal signatures of positive selection

Diepeveen, Eveline T. and Kim, Fabienne D. and Salzburger, Walter. (2013) Sequence analyses of the distal-less homeobox gene family in East African cichlid fishes reveal signatures of positive selection. BMC Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 13 , 153.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6223444

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Gen(om)e duplication events are hypothesized as key mechanisms underlying the origin of phenotypic diversity and evolutionary innovation. The diverse and species-rich lineage of teleost fishes is a renowned example of this scenario, because of the fish-specific genome duplication. Gene families, generated by this and other gene duplication events, have been previously found to play a role in the evolution and development of innovations in cichlid fishes - a prime model system to study the genetic basis of rapid speciation, adaptation and evolutionary innovation. The distal-less homeobox genes are particularly interesting candidate genes for evolutionary novelties, such as the pharyngeal jaw apparatus and the anal fin egg-spots. Here we study the dlx repertoire in 23 East African cichlid fishes to determine the rate of evolution and the signatures of selection pressure.; Four intact dlx clusters were retrieved from cichlid draft genomes. Phylogenetic analyses of these eight dlx loci in ten teleost species, followed by an in-depth analysis of 23 East African cichlid species, show that there is disparity in the rates of evolution of the dlx paralogs. Dlx3a and dlx4b are the fastest evolving dlx genes, while dlx1a and dlx6a evolved more slowly. Subsequent analyses of the nonsynonymous-synonymous substitution rate ratios indicate that dlx3b, dlx4a and dlx5a evolved under purifying selection, while signs of positive selection were found for dlx1a, dlx2a, dlx3a and dlx4b.; Our results indicate that the dlx repertoire of teleost fishes and cichlid fishes in particular, is shaped by differential selection pressures and rates of evolution after gene duplication. Although the divergence of the dlx paralogs are putative signs of new or altered functions, comparisons with available expression patterns indicate that the three dlx loci under strong purifying selection, dlx3b, dlx4a and dlx5a, are transcribed at high levels in the cichlids' pharyngeal jaw and anal fin. The d paralogs emerge as excellent candidate genes for the development of evolutionary innovations in cichlids, although further functional analyses are necessary to elucidate their respective contribution.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Evolutionary Biology (Salzburger)
UniBasel Contributors:Salzburger, Walter
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:BioMed Central
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:27 Feb 2014 15:46
Deposited On:27 Feb 2014 15:46

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