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Evolutionary Genetics of Hypoxia Tolerance in Cetaceans during Diving.


ABSTRACT: Hypoxia was a major challenge faced by cetaceans during the course of secondary aquatic adaptation. Although physiological traits of hypoxia tolerance in cetaceans have been well characterized, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unknown. We investigated the sequences of 17 hypoxia-tolerance-related genes in representative cetaceans to provide a comprehensive insight into the genetic basis of hypoxia tolerance in these animals. Genes involved in carrying and transporting oxygen in the blood and muscle (hemoglobin-? and ?, myoglobin), and genes involved in the regulation of vasoconstriction (endothelin-1, -2, and -3; endothelin receptor type A and B; adrenergic receptor ?-1D; and arginine vasopressin) appear to have undergone adaptive evolution, evidence for positive selection on their particular sites, and radical physiochemical property changes of selected condons. Interestingly, "long-diving" cetaceans had relatively higher ? (dN/dS) values than "short-diving" cetaceans for the hemoglobin ? gene, indicating divergent selective pressure presented in cetacean lineages with different diving abilities. Additionally, parallel positive selection or amino acid changes (ADRA1D: P50A, A53G,AVPR1B: I/V270T) among animals exposed to different hypoxia habitats reflect functional convergence or similar genetic mechanisms of hypoxia tolerance. In summary, positive selection, divergent selective pressures, and parallel evolution at the molecular level provided some new insights into the genetic adaptation of hypoxia tolerance.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4824146 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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