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1.  An Independent Genome Duplication Inferred from Hox Paralogs in the American Paddlefish—A Representative Basal Ray-Finned Fish and Important Comparative Reference 
Genome Biology and Evolution  2012;4(9):937-953.
Vertebrates have experienced two rounds of whole-genome duplication (WGD) in the stem lineages of deep nodes within the group and a subsequent duplication event in the stem lineage of the teleosts—a highly diverse group of ray-finned fishes. Here, we present the first full Hox gene sequences for any member of the Acipenseriformes, the American paddlefish, and confirm that an independent WGD occurred in the paddlefish lineage, approximately 42 Ma based on sequences spanning the entire HoxA cluster and eight genes on the HoxD gene cluster. These clusters comprise different HOX loci and maintain conserved synteny relative to bichir, zebrafish, stickleback, and pufferfish, as well as human, mouse, and chick. We also provide a gene genealogy for the duplicated fzd8 gene in paddlefish and present evidence for the first Hox14 gene in any ray-finned fish. Taken together, these data demonstrate that the American paddlefish has an independently duplicated genome. Substitution patterns of the “alpha” paralogs on both the HoxA and HoxD gene clusters suggest transcriptional inactivation consistent with functional diploidization. Further, there are similarities in the pattern of sequence divergence among duplicated Hox genes in paddlefish and teleost lineages, even though they occurred independently approximately 200 Myr apart. We highlight implications on comparative analyses in the study of the “fin-limb transition” as well as gene and genome duplication in bony fishes, which includes all ray-finned fishes as well as the lobe-finned fishes and tetrapod vertebrates.
PMCID: PMC3509897  PMID: 22851613
Polyodon spathula; whole-genome duplication; WGD; rate asymmetry; paralog retention; fin-limb transition
2.  The fate of the duplicated androgen receptor in fishes: a late neofunctionalization event? 
Based on the observation of an increased number of paralogous genes in teleost fishes compared with other vertebrates and on the conserved synteny between duplicated copies, it has been shown that a whole genome duplication (WGD) occurred during the evolution of Actinopterygian fish. Comparative phylogenetic dating of this duplication event suggests that it occurred early on, specifically in teleosts. It has been proposed that this event might have facilitated the evolutionary radiation and the phenotypic diversification of the teleost fish, notably by allowing the sub- or neo-functionalization of many duplicated genes.
In this paper, we studied in a wide range of Actinopterygians the duplication and fate of the androgen receptor (AR, NR3C4), a nuclear receptor known to play a key role in sex-determination in vertebrates. The pattern of AR gene duplication is consistent with an early WGD event: it has been duplicated into two genes AR-A and AR-B after the split of the Acipenseriformes from the lineage leading to teleost fish but before the divergence of Osteoglossiformes. Genomic and syntenic analyses in addition to lack of PCR amplification show that one of the duplicated copies, AR-B, was lost in several basal Clupeocephala such as Cypriniformes (including the model species zebrafish), Siluriformes, Characiformes and Salmoniformes. Interestingly, we also found that, in basal teleost fish (Osteoglossiformes and Anguilliformes), the two copies remain very similar, whereas, specifically in Percomorphs, one of the copies, AR-B, has accumulated substitutions in both the ligand binding domain (LBD) and the DNA binding domain (DBD).
The comparison of the mutations present in these divergent AR-B with those known in human to be implicated in complete, partial or mild androgen insensitivity syndrome suggests that the existence of two distinct AR duplicates may be correlated to specific functional differences that may be connected to the well-known plasticity of sex determination in fish. This suggests that three specific events have shaped the present diversity of ARs in Actinopterygians: (i) early WGD, (ii) parallel loss of one duplicate in several lineages and (iii) putative neofunctionalization of the same duplicate in percomorphs, which occurred a long time after the WGD.
PMCID: PMC2637867  PMID: 19094205
3.  Distribution of ancestral proto-Actinopterygian chromosome arms within the genomes of 4R-derivative salmonid fishes (Rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon) 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:557.
Comparative genomic studies suggest that the modern day assemblage of ray-finned fishes have descended from an ancestral grouping of fishes that possessed 12–13 linkage groups. All jawed vertebrates are postulated to have experienced two whole genome duplications (WGD) in their ancestry (2R duplication). Salmonids have experienced one additional WGD (4R duplication event) compared to most extant teleosts which underwent a further 3R WGD compared to other vertebrates. We describe the organization of the 4R chromosomal segments of the proto-ray-finned fish karyotype in Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout based upon their comparative syntenies with two model species of 3R ray-finned fishes.
Evidence is presented for the retention of large whole-arm affinities between the ancestral linkage groups of the ray-finned fishes, and the 50 homeologous chromosomal segments in Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout. In the comparisons between the two salmonid species, there is also evidence for the retention of large whole-arm homeologous affinities that are associated with the retention of duplicated markers. Five of the 7 pairs of chromosomal arm regions expressing the highest level of duplicate gene expression in rainbow trout share homologous synteny to the 5 pairs of homeologs with the greatest duplicate gene expression in Atlantic salmon. These regions are derived from proto-Actinopterygian linkage groups B, C, E, J and K.
Two chromosome arms in Danio rerio and Oryzias latipes (descendants of the 3R duplication) can, in most instances be related to at least 4 whole or partial chromosomal arms in the salmonid species. Multiple arm assignments in the two salmonid species do not clearly support a 13 proto-linkage group model, and suggest that a 12 proto-linkage group arrangement (i.e., a separate single chromosome duplication and ancestral fusion/fissions/recombination within the putative G/H/I groupings) may have occurred in the more basal soft-rayed fishes. We also found evidence supporting the model that ancestral linkage group M underwent a single chromosome duplication following the 3R duplication. In the salmonids, the M ancestral linkage groups are localized to 5 whole arm, and 3 partial arm regions (i.e., 6 whole arm regions expected). Thus, 3 distinct ancestral linkage groups are postulated to have existed in the G/H and M lineage chromosomes in the ancestor of the salmonids.
PMCID: PMC2632648  PMID: 19032764
4.  Tissue-specific differential induction of duplicated fatty acid-binding protein genes by the peroxisome proliferator, clofibrate, in zebrafish (Danio rerio) 
Force, Lynch and Conery proposed the duplication-degeneration-complementation (DDC) model in which partitioning of ancestral functions (subfunctionalization) and acquisition of novel functions (neofunctionalization) were the two primary mechanisms for the retention of duplicated genes. The DDC model was tested by analyzing the transcriptional induction of the duplicated fatty acid-binding protein (fabp) genes by clofibrate in zebrafish. Clofibrate is a specific ligand of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR); it activates PPAR which then binds to a peroxisome proliferator response element (PPRE) to induce the transcriptional initiation of genes primarily involved in lipid homeostasis. Zebrafish was chosen as our model organism as it has many duplicated genes owing to a whole genome duplication (WGD) event that occurred ~230-400 million years ago in the teleost fish lineage. We assayed the steady-state levels of fabp mRNA and heterogeneous nuclear RNA (hnRNA) transcripts in liver, intestine, muscle, brain and heart for four sets of duplicated fabp genes, fabp1a/fabp1b.1/fabp1b.2, fabp7a/fabp7b, fabp10a/fabp10b and fabp11a/fabp11b in zebrafish fed different concentrations of clofibrate.
Electron microscopy showed an increase in the number of peroxisomes and mitochondria in liver and heart, respectively, in zebrafish fed clofibrate. Clofibrate also increased the steady-state level of acox1 mRNA and hnRNA transcripts in different tissues, a gene with a functional PPRE. These results demonstrate that zebrafish is responsive to clofibrate, unlike some other fishes. The levels of fabp mRNA and hnRNA transcripts for the four sets of duplicated fabp genes was determined by reverse transcription, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). The level of hnRNA coded by a gene is an indirect estimate of the rate of transcriptional initiation of that gene. Clofibrate increased the steady-state level of fabp mRNAs and hnRNAs for both the duplicated copies of fabp1a/fabp1b.1, and fabp7a/fabp7b, but in different tissues. Clofibrate also increased the steady-state level of fabp10a and fabp11a mRNAs and hnRNAs in liver, but not for fabp10b and fabp11b.
Some duplicated fabp genes have, most likely, retained PPREs, but induction by clofibrate is over-ridden by an, as yet, unknown tissue-specific mechanism(s). Regardless of the tissue-specific mechanism(s), transcriptional control of duplicated zebrafish fabp genes by clofibrate has markedly diverged since the WGD event.
PMCID: PMC3483278  PMID: 22776158
5.  Genome-Wide Analysis of Syntenic Gene Deletion in the Grasses 
Genome Biology and Evolution  2012;4(3):265-277.
The grasses, Poaceae, are one of the largest and most successful angiosperm families. Like many radiations of flowering plants, the divergence of the major grass lineages was preceded by a whole-genome duplication (WGD), although these events are not rare for flowering plants. By combining identification of syntenic gene blocks with measures of gene pair divergence and different frequencies of ancient gene loss, we have separated the two subgenomes present in modern grasses. Reciprocal loss of duplicated genes or genomic regions has been hypothesized to reproductively isolate populations and, thus, speciation. However, in contrast to previous studies in yeast and teleost fishes, we found very little evidence of reciprocal loss of homeologous genes between the grasses, suggesting that post-WGD gene loss may not be the cause of the grass radiation. The sets of homeologous and orthologous genes and predicted locations of deleted genes identified in this study, as well as links to the CoGe comparative genomics web platform for analyzing pan-grass syntenic regions, are provided along with this paper as a resource for the grass genetics community.
PMCID: PMC3318446  PMID: 22275519
polyploidy; gene loss; synteny; Poaceae; speciation
6.  Evolution of the osteoblast: skeletogenesis in gar and zebrafish 
Although the vertebrate skeleton arose in the sea 500 million years ago, our understanding of the molecular fingerprints of chondrocytes and osteoblasts may be biased because it is informed mainly by research on land animals. In fact, the molecular fingerprint of teleost osteoblasts differs in key ways from that of tetrapods, but we do not know the origin of these novel gene functions. They either arose as neofunctionalization events after the teleost genome duplication (TGD), or they represent preserved ancestral functions that pre-date the TGD. Here, we provide evolutionary perspective to the molecular fingerprints of skeletal cells and assess the role of genome duplication in generating novel gene functions. We compared the molecular fingerprints of skeletogenic cells in two ray-finned fish: zebrafish (Danio rerio)--a teleost--and the spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus)--a "living fossil" representative of a lineage that diverged from the teleost lineage prior to the TGD (i.e., the teleost sister group). We analyzed developing embryos for expression of the structural collagen genes col1a2, col2a1, col10a1, and col11a2 in well-formed cartilage and bone, and studied expression of skeletal regulators, including the transcription factor genes sox9 and runx2, during mesenchymal condensation.
Results provided no evidence for the evolution of novel functions among gene duplicates in zebrafish compared to the gar outgroup, but our findings shed light on the evolution of the osteoblast. Zebrafish and gar chondrocytes both expressed col10a1 as they matured, but both species' osteoblasts also expressed col10a1, which tetrapod osteoblasts do not express. This novel finding, along with sox9 and col2a1 expression in developing osteoblasts of both zebrafish and gar, demonstrates that osteoblasts of both a teleost and a basally diverging ray-fin fish express components of the supposed chondrocyte molecular fingerprint.
Our surprising finding that the "chondrogenic" transcription factor sox9 is expressed in developing osteoblasts of both zebrafish and gar can help explain the expression of chondrocyte genes in osteoblasts of ray-finned fish. More broadly, our data suggest that the molecular fingerprint of the osteoblast, which largely is constrained among land animals, was not fixed during early vertebrate evolution.
PMCID: PMC3314580  PMID: 22390748
7.  Pigmentation Pathway Evolution after Whole-Genome Duplication in Fish 
Whole-genome duplications (WGDs) have occurred repeatedly in the vertebrate lineage, but their evolutionary significance for phenotypic evolution remains elusive. Here, we have investigated the impact of the fish-specific genome duplication (FSGD) on the evolution of pigmentation pathways in teleost fishes. Pigmentation and color patterning are among the most diverse traits in teleosts, and their pigmentary system is the most complex of all vertebrate groups.
Using a comparative genomic approach including phylogenetic and synteny analyses, the evolution of 128 vertebrate pigmentation genes in five teleost genomes following the FSGD has been reconstructed. We show that pigmentation genes have been preferentially retained in duplicate after the FSGD, so that teleosts have 30% more pigmentation genes compared with tetrapods. This is significantly higher than genome-wide estimates of FSGD gene duplicate retention in teleosts. Large parts of the melanocyte regulatory network have been retained in two copies after the FSGD. Duplicated pigmentation genes follow general evolutionary patterns such as the preservation of protein complex stoichiometries and the overrepresentation of developmental genes among retained duplicates. These results suggest that the FSGD has made an important contribution to the evolution of teleost-specific features of pigmentation, which include novel pigment cell types or the division of existing pigment cell types into distinct subtypes. Furthermore, we have observed species-specific differences in duplicate retention and evolution that might contribute to pigmentary diversity among teleosts.
Our study therefore strongly supports the hypothesis that WGDs have promoted the increase of complexity and diversity during vertebrate phenotypic evolution.
PMCID: PMC2839281  PMID: 20333216
genome duplication; fish; conserved synteny; pigment cell; melanocyte; functional module
8.  Temporal pattern of loss/persistence of duplicate genes involved in signal transduction and metabolic pathways after teleost-specific genome duplication 
Recent genomic studies have revealed a teleost-specific third-round whole genome duplication (3R-WGD) event occurred in a common ancestor of teleost fishes. However, it is unclear how the genes duplicated in this event were lost or persisted during the diversification of teleosts, and therefore, how many of the duplicated genes contribute to the genetic differences among teleosts. This subject is also important for understanding the process of vertebrate evolution through WGD events. We applied a comparative evolutionary approach to this question by focusing on the genes involved in long-term potentiation, taste and olfactory transduction, and the tricarboxylic acid cycle, based on the whole genome sequences of four teleosts; zebrafish, medaka, stickleback, and green spotted puffer fish.
We applied a state-of-the-art method of maximum-likelihood phylogenetic inference and conserved synteny analyses to each of 130 genes involved in the above biological systems of human. These analyses identified 116 orthologous gene groups between teleosts and tetrapods, and 45 pairs of 3R-WGD-derived duplicate genes among them. This suggests that more than half [(45×2)/(116+45)] = 56.5%) of the loci, probably more than ten thousand genes, present in a common ancestor of the four teleosts were still duplicated after the 3R-WGD. The estimated temporal pattern of gene loss suggested that, after the 3R-WGD, many (71/116) of the duplicated genes were rapidly lost during the initial 75 million years (MY), whereas on average more than half (27.3/45) of the duplicated genes remaining in the ancestor of the four teleosts (45/116) have persisted for about 275 MY. The 3R-WGD-derived duplicates that have persisted for a long evolutionary periods of time had significantly larger number of interacting partners and longer length of protein coding sequence, implying that they tend to be more multifunctional than the singletons after the 3R-WGD.
We have shown firstly the temporal pattern of gene loss process after 3R-WGD on the basis of teleost phylogeny and divergence time frameworks. The 3R-WGD-derived duplicates have not undergone constant exponential decay, suggesting that selection favoured the long-term persistence of a subset of duplicates that tend to be multi-functional. On the basis of these results obtained from the analysis of 116 orthologous gene groups, we propose that more than ten thousand of 3R-WGD-derived duplicates have experienced lineage-specific evolution, that is, the differential sub-/neo-functionalization or secondary loss between lineages, and contributed to teleost diversity.
PMCID: PMC2702319  PMID: 19500364
9.  Evolution of Ancient Functions in the Vertebrate Insulin-Like Growth Factor System Uncovered by Study of Duplicated Salmonid Fish Genomes 
Molecular Biology and Evolution  2013;30(5):1060-1076.
Whole-genome duplication (WGD) was experienced twice by the vertebrate ancestor (2 rounds; 2R), again by the teleost fish ancestor (3R) and most recently in certain teleost lineages (4R). Consequently, vertebrate gene families are often expanded in 3R and 4R genomes. Arguably, many types of “functional divergence” present across 2R gene families will exceed that between 3R/4R paralogs of genes comprising 2R families. Accordingly, 4R offers a form of replication of 2R. Examining whether this concept has implications for molecular evolutionary research, we studied insulin-like growth factor (IGF) binding proteins (IGFBPs), whose six 2R family members carry IGF hormones and regulate interactions between IGFs and IGF1-receptors (IGF1Rs). Using phylogenomic approaches, we resolved the complete IGFBP repertoire of 4R-derived salmonid fishes (19 genes; 13 more than human) and established evolutionary relationships/nomenclature with respect to WGDs. Traits central to IGFBP action were determined for all genes, including atomic interactions in IGFBP–IGF1/IGF2 complexes regulating IGF–IGF1R binding. Using statistical methods, we demonstrate that attributes of these protein interfaces are overwhelming a product of 2R IGFBP family membership, explain 49–68% of variation in IGFBP mRNA concentration in several different tissues, and strongly predict the strength and direction of IGFBP transcriptional regulation under differing nutritional states. The results support a model where vertebrate IGFBP family members evolved divergent structural attributes to provide distinct competition for IGFs with IGF1Rs, predisposing different functions in the regulation of IGF signaling. Evolution of gene expression then acted to ensure the appropriate physiological production of IGFBPs according to their structural specializations, leading to optimal IGF-signaling according to nutritional-status and the endocrine/local mode of action. This study demonstrates that relatively recent gene family expansion can facilitate inference of functional evolution within ancient genetic systems.
PMCID: PMC3670735  PMID: 23360665
evolutionary genomics; functional evolution; gene family expansion; genome duplication; insulin-like growth factor system; insulin-like growth factor binding proteins
10.  Hox cluster duplication in the basal teleost Hiodon alosoides (Osteoglossomorpha) 
Theory in Biosciences  2009;128(2):109-120.
Large-scale—even genome-wide—duplications have repeatedly been invoked as an explanation for major radiations. Teleosts, the most species-rich vertebrate clade, underwent a “fish-specific genome duplication” (FSGD) that is shared by most ray-finned fish lineages. We investigate here the Hox complement of the goldeye (Hiodon alosoides), a representative of Osteoglossomorpha, the most basal teleostean clade. An extensive PCR survey reveals that goldeye has at least eight Hox clusters, indicating a duplicated genome compared to basal actinopterygians. The possession of duplicated Hox clusters is uncoupled to species richness. The Hox system of the goldeye is substantially different from that of other teleost lineages, having retained several duplicates of Hox genes for which crown teleosts have lost at least one copy. A detailed analysis of the PCR fragments as well as full length sequences of two HoxA13 paralogs, and HoxA10 and HoxC4 genes places the duplication event close in time to the divergence of Osteoglossomorpha and crown teleosts. The data are consistent with—but do not conclusively prove—that Osteoglossomorpha shares the FSGD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12064-009-0056-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2683926  PMID: 19225820
Hox clusters; Fish-specific genome duplication; Goldeye Hiodon alosoides
11.  Calcium-Activated Potassium (BK) Channels Are Encoded by Duplicate slo1 Genes in Teleost Fishes 
Molecular Biology and Evolution  2009;26(7):1509-1521.
Calcium-activated, large conductance potassium (BK) channels in tetrapods are encoded by a single slo1 gene, which undergoes extensive alternative splicing. Alternative splicing generates a high level of functional diversity in BK channels that contributes to the wide range of frequencies electrically tuned by the inner ear hair cells of many tetrapods. To date, the role of BK channels in hearing among teleost fishes has not been investigated at the molecular level, although teleosts account for approximately half of all extant vertebrate species. We identified slo1 genes in teleost and nonteleost fishes using polymerase chain reaction and genetic sequence databases. In contrast to tetrapods, all teleosts examined were found to express duplicate slo1 genes in the central nervous system, whereas nonteleosts that diverged prior to the teleost whole-genome duplication event express a single slo1 gene. Phylogenetic analyses further revealed that whereas other slo1 duplicates were the result of a single duplication event, an independent duplication occurred in a basal teleost (Anguilla rostrata) following the slo1 duplication in teleosts. A third, independent slo1 duplication (autotetraploidization) occurred in salmonids. Comparison of teleost slo1 genomic sequences to their tetrapod orthologue revealed a reduced number of alternative splice sites in both slo1 co-orthologues. For the teleost Porichthys notatus, a focal study species that vocalizes with maximal spectral energy in the range electrically tuned by BK channels in the inner ear, peripheral tissues show the expression of either one (e.g., vocal muscle) or both (e.g., inner ear) slo1 paralogues with important implications for both auditory and vocal physiology. Additional loss of expression of one slo1 paralogue in nonneural tissues in P. notatus suggests that slo1 duplicates were retained via subfunctionalization. Together, the results predict that teleost fish achieve a diversity of BK channel subfunction via gene duplication, rather than increased alternative splicing as witnessed for the tetrapod and invertebrate orthologue.
PMCID: PMC2727370  PMID: 19321796
BK channels; hearing; gene duplications
12.  Evolution of ligand specificity in vertebrate corticosteroid receptors 
Corticosteroid receptors include mineralocorticoid (MR) and glucocorticoid (GR) receptors. Teleost fishes have a single MR and duplicate GRs that show variable sensitivities to mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids. How these receptors compare functionally to tetrapod MR and GR, and the evolutionary significance of maintaining two GRs, remains unclear.
We used up to seven steroids (including aldosterone, cortisol and 11-deoxycorticosterone [DOC]) to compare the ligand specificity of the ligand binding domains of corticosteroid receptors between a mammal (Mus musculus) and the midshipman fish (Porichthys notatus), a teleost model for steroid regulation of neural and behavioral plasticity. Variation in mineralocorticoid sensitivity was considered in a broader phylogenetic context by examining the aldosterone sensitivity of MR and GRs from the distantly related daffodil cichlid (Neolamprologus pulcher), another teleost model for neurobehavioral plasticity. Both teleost species had a single MR and duplicate GRs. All MRs were sensitive to DOC, consistent with the hypothesis that DOC was the initial ligand of the ancestral MR. Variation in GR steroid-specificity corresponds to nine identified amino acid residue substitutions rather than phylogenetic relationships based on receptor sequences.
The mineralocorticoid sensitivity of duplicate GRs in teleosts is highly labile in the context of their evolutionary phylogeny, a property that likely led to neo-functionalization and maintenance of two GRs.
PMCID: PMC3025851  PMID: 21232159
13.  Did genome duplication drive the origin of teleosts? A comparative study of diversification in ray-finned fishes 
One of the main explanations for the stunning diversity of teleost fishes (~29,000 species, nearly half of all vertebrates) is that a fish-specific whole-genome duplication event (FSGD) in the ancestor to teleosts triggered their subsequent radiation. However, one critical assumption of this hypothesis, that diversification rates in teleosts increased soon after the acquisition of a duplicated genome, has never been tested.
Here we show that one of three major diversification rate shifts within ray-finned fishes occurred at the base of the teleost radiation, as predicted by the FSGD hypothesis. We also find evidence for two rate increases that are much younger than the inferred age of the FSGD: one in the common ancestor of most ostariophysan fishes, and a second one in the common ancestor of percomorphs. The biodiversity contained within these two clades accounts for more than 88% of living fish species.
Teleosts diversified explosively in their early history and this burst of diversification may have been caused by genome duplication. However, the FSGD itself may be responsible for a little over 10% of living teleost biodiversity. ~88% of species diversity is derived from two relatively recent radiations of freshwater and marine fishes where genome duplication is not suspected. Genome duplications are a common event on the tree of life and have been implicated in the diversification of major clades like flowering plants, vertebrates, and gnathostomes. However our results suggest that the causes of diversification in large clades are likely to be complex and not easily ascribed to a single event, even a dramatic one such as a whole genome duplication.
PMCID: PMC2743667  PMID: 19664233
14.  Genome-wide identification, characterization, and expression analysis of lineage-specific genes within zebrafish 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:65.
The genomic basis of teleost phenotypic complexity remains obscure, despite increasing availability of genome and transcriptome sequence data. Fish-specific genome duplication cannot provide sufficient explanation for the morphological complexity of teleosts, considering the relatively large number of extinct basal ray-finned fishes.
In this study, we performed comparative genomic analysis to discover the Conserved Teleost-Specific Genes (CTSGs) and orphan genes within zebrafish and found that these two sets of lineage-specific genes may have played important roles during zebrafish embryogenesis. Lineage-specific genes within zebrafish share many of the characteristics of their counterparts in other species: shorter length, fewer exon numbers, higher GC content, and fewer of them have transcript support. Chromosomal location analysis indicated that neither the CTSGs nor the orphan genes were distributed evenly in the chromosomes of zebrafish. The significant enrichment of immunity proteins in CTSGs annotated by gene ontology (GO) or predicted ab initio may imply that defense against pathogens may be an important reason for the diversification of teleosts. The evolutionary origin of the lineage-specific genes was determined and a very high percentage of lineage-specific genes were generated via gene duplications. The temporal and spatial expression profile of lineage-specific genes obtained by expressed sequence tags (EST) and RNA-seq data revealed two novel properties: in addition to being highly tissue-preferred expression, lineage-specific genes are also highly temporally restricted, namely they are expressed in narrower time windows than evolutionarily conserved genes and are specifically enriched in later-stage embryos and early larval stages.
Our study provides the first systematic identification of two different sets of lineage-specific genes within zebrafish and provides valuable information leading towards a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of the genomic basis of teleost phenotypic complexity for future studies.
PMCID: PMC3599513  PMID: 23368736
Teleost; Lineage-specific gene; Transcriptome; Zebrafish embryogenesis
15.  Polyploidy and the Evolution of Complex Traits 
We explore how whole-genome duplications (WGDs) may have given rise to complex innovations in cellular networks, innovations that could not have evolved through sequential single-gene duplications. We focus on two classical WGD events, one in bakers' yeast and the other at the base of vertebrates (i.e., two rounds of whole-genome duplication: 2R-WGD). Two complex adaptations are discussed in detail: aerobic ethanol fermentation in yeast and the rewiring of the vertebrate developmental regulatory network through the 2R-WGD. These two examples, derived from diverged branches on the eukaryotic tree, boldly underline the evolutionary potential of WGD in facilitating major evolutionary transitions. We close by arguing that the evolutionary importance of WGD may require updating certain aspects of modern evolutionary theory, perhaps helping to synthesize a new evolutionary systems biology.
PMCID: PMC3413983  PMID: 22900230
16.  Fish Lateral Line Innovation: Insights into the Evolutionary Genomic Dynamics of a Unique Mechanosensory Organ 
Molecular Biology and Evolution  2012;29(12):3887-3898.
The mechanosensory lateral line, found only in fishes and amphibians, is an important sense organ associated with aquatic life. Lateral line patterns differ among teleost, the most diverse vertebrate taxa, hypothetically in response to selective pressures from different aquatic habitats. In this article, we conduct evolutionary genomic analyses of 34 genes associated with lateral line system development in teleosts to elucidate the significance of contrasting evolutionary rates and changes in the protein coding sequences. We find that duplicated copies of these genes are preferentially retained in the teleost genomes and that episodic events of positive selection have occurred in 22 of the 30 postduplication branches. In general, teleost genes evolved at a faster rate relative to their tetrapod counterparts, and the mutation rates of 26 of the 34 genes differed among teleosts and tetrapods. We conclude that following whole genome duplication, evolutionary rates and episodic events of positive selection on the lateral line system development genes might have been one of the factors favoring the subsequent adaptive radiation of teleosts into diverse habitats. These results provide the foundation for further detailed explorations into lateral line system genes and the evolution of diverse phenotypes and adaptations.
PMCID: PMC3494275  PMID: 22844072
lateral line; teleost; adaptive evolution; positive selection
17.  2R and remodeling of vertebrate signal transduction engine 
BMC Biology  2010;8:146.
Whole genome duplication (WGD) is a special case of gene duplication, observed rarely in animals, whereby all genes duplicate simultaneously through polyploidisation. Two rounds of WGD (2R-WGD) occurred at the base of vertebrates, giving rise to an enormous wave of genetic novelty, but a systematic analysis of functional consequences of this event has not yet been performed.
We show that 2R-WGD affected an overwhelming majority (74%) of signalling genes, in particular developmental pathways involving receptor tyrosine kinases, Wnt and transforming growth factor-β ligands, G protein-coupled receptors and the apoptosis pathway. 2R-retained genes, in contrast to tandem duplicates, were enriched in protein interaction domains and multifunctional signalling modules of Ras and mitogen-activated protein kinase cascades. 2R-WGD had a fundamental impact on the cell-cycle machinery, redefined molecular building blocks of the neuronal synapse, and was formative for vertebrate brains. We investigated 2R-associated nodes in the context of the human signalling network, as well as in an inferred ancestral pre-2R (AP2R) network, and found that hubs (particularly involving negative regulation) were preferentially retained, with high connectivity driving retention. Finally, microarrays and proteomics demonstrated a trend for gradual paralog expression divergence independent of the duplication mechanism, but inferred ancestral expression states suggested preferential subfunctionalisation among 2R-ohnologs (2ROs).
The 2R event left an indelible imprint on vertebrate signalling and the cell cycle. We show that 2R-WGD preferentially retained genes are associated with higher organismal complexity (for example, locomotion, nervous system, morphogenesis), while genes associated with basic cellular functions (for example, translation, replication, splicing, recombination; with the notable exception of cell cycle) tended to be excluded. 2R-WGD set the stage for the emergence of key vertebrate functional novelties (such as complex brains, circulatory system, heart, bone, cartilage, musculature and adipose tissue). A full explanation of the impact of 2R on evolution, function and the flow of information in vertebrate signalling networks is likely to have practical consequences for regenerative medicine, stem cell therapies and cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC3238295  PMID: 21144020
18.  The distributions of the duplicate oestrogen receptors ER-βa and ER-βb in the forebrain of the Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus): evidence for subfunctionalization after gene duplication 
Teleost fishes have three distinct oestrogen receptor (ER) subtypes: ER-α, ER-βa (or ER-γ) and ER-βb. ER-βa and ER-βb arose from a duplication of an ancestral ER-β gene early in the teleost lineage. Here, we describe the distribution of the three ER mRNAs in the hypothalamus and cerebellum of the Atlantic croaker to address two issues: the specific functions of multiple ERs in the neuroendocrine system and the evolution and fate of duplicated genes. ER-α was detected in nuclei of the preoptic area (POA) and hypothalamus previously shown to possess ER-αs in teleosts. AcER-βb, but not ER-βa, labelling was detected in the magnocellular neurons of the POA, nucleus posterior tuberis, the nucleus recessus posterior and cerebellum. By contrast, acER-βa, but not ER-βb, was detected in the dorsal anterior parvocellular POA and suprachiasmatic nucleus. Both ER-βs were found in posterior parvocellular and ventral anterior POA nuclei, the ventral hypothalamus, and periventricular dorsal hypothalamus. The differences we observed in ER subtype mRNA distribution within well-characterized brain nuclei suggest that ER-βa and ER-βb have distinct functions in the neuroendocrine control of reproduction and behaviour, and provide evidence that the teleost ER-β paralogues have partitioned functions of the ancestral ER-β gene they shared with tetrapods.
PMCID: PMC1564083  PMID: 15817438
oestrogen receptor; gene duplication; teleost fishes; neuroendocrine regulation; hypothalamus; brain
19.  Fertility of a spontaneous hexaploid male Siberian sturgeon, Acipenser baerii 
BMC Genetics  2014;15:5.
Evolution of sturgeons and paddlefishes (order Acipenseriformes) is inherently connected with polyploidization events which resulted in differentiation of ploidy levels and chromosome numbers of present acipenseriform species. Moreover, allopolyploidization as well as autopolyploidization seems to be an ongoing process in these fishes and individuals with abnormal ploidy levels were occasionally observed within sturgeon populations. Here, we reported occurrence of Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii) male with abnormal ploidy level for this species, accessed its ploidy level and chromosome number and investigate its potential sterility or fertility in comparison with normal individuals of sterlet (A. ruthenus), Russian sturgeon (A. gueldenstaedtii) and Siberian sturgeon (A. baerii).
Acipenser ruthenus possessed 120 chromosomes, exhibiting recent diploidy (2n), A. gueldenstaedtii and A. baerii had ~245 chromosomes representing recent tetraploidy (4n), and A. baerii male with abnormal ploidy level had ~ 368 chromosomes, indicating recent hexaploidy (6n). Genealogy assessed from the mtDNA control region did not reveal genome markers of other sturgeon species and this individual was supposed to originate from spontaneous 1.5 fold increment in number of chromosome sets with respect to the number most frequently found in nature for this species. Following hormone stimulation, the spontaneous hexaploid male produced normal sperm with ability for fertilization. Fertilization of A. baerii and A. gueldenstaedtii ova from normal 4n level females with sperm of the hexaploid male produced viable, non-malformed pentaploid (5n) progeny with a ploidy level intermediate to those of the parents.
This study firstly described occurrence of hexaploid individual of A. baerii and confirmed its autopolyploid origin. In addition to that, the first detailed evidence about fertility of spontaneous hexaploid sturgeon was provided. If 1.5 fold increment in number of chromosome sets occurring in diploids, resulted triploids possess odd number of chromosome sets causing their sterility or subfertility due to interference of gametogenesis. In contrast, 1.5 fold increment in number of chromosome sets in naturally tetraploid A. baerii resulted in even number of chromosome sets and therefore in fertility of the hexaploid specimen under study.
PMCID: PMC3893428  PMID: 24410899
Acipenseridae; Polyploidy determination; Sperm quality; Autopolyploidization; Triploidization
20.  Locally Duplicated Ohnologs Evolve Faster Than Nonlocally Duplicated Ohnologs in Arabidopsis and Rice 
Genome Biology and Evolution  2013;5(2):362-369.
Whole-genome duplications (WGDs) have recurred in the evolution of angiosperms, resulting in many duplicated chromosomal segments. Local gene duplications are also widespread in angiosperms. WGD-derived duplicates, that is, ohnologs, and local duplicates often show contrasting patterns of gene retention and evolution. However, many genes in angiosperms underwent multiple gene duplication events, possibly by different modes, indicating that different modes of gene duplication are not mutually exclusive. In two representative angiosperm genomes, Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and rice (Oryza sativa), we found that 9.6% and 11.3% of unique ohnologs, corresponding to 15.5% and 17.1% of ohnolog pairs, were also involved in local duplications, respectively. Locally duplicated ohnologs are widely distributed in different duplicated chromosomal segments and functionally biased. Coding sequence divergence between duplicated genes is denoted by nonsynonymous (Ka) and synonymous (Ks) substitution rates. Locally duplicated ohnolog pairs tend to have higher Ka, Ka/Ks, and gene expression divergence than nonlocally duplicated ohnolog pairs. Locally duplicated ohnologs also tend to have higher interspecies sequence divergence. These observations indicate that locally duplicated ohnologs evolve faster than nonlocally duplicated ohnologs. This study highlights the necessity to take local duplications into account when analyzing the evolutionary dynamics of ohnologs.
PMCID: PMC3590777  PMID: 23362157
local gene duplication; whole-genome duplication; ohnolog; divergence; colinearity
21.  The Vertebrate Social Behavior Network: Evolutionary Themes and Variations 
Hormones and behavior  2005;48(1):11-22.
Based on a wide variety of data, it is now clear that the brains of birds and teleost (bony) fish possess a core “social behavior network” within the basal forebrain and midbrain that is homologous to the social behavior network of mammals. The nodes of this network are reciprocally connected, contain receptors for sex steroid hormones, and are involved in multiple forms of social behavior. Other hodological features and neuropeptide distributions are likewise very similar across taxa. This evolutionary conservation represents a boon for experiments on phenotypic behavioral variation, as the extraordinary social diversity of teleost fish and songbirds can now be used to generate broadly relevant insights into issues of brain function that are not particularly tractable in other vertebrate groups. Two such lines of research are presented here, each of which addresses functional variation within the network as it relates to divergent patterns of social behavior. In the first set of experiments, we have used a sexually polymorphic fish to demonstrate that natural selection can operate independently on hypothalamic neuroendocrine functions that are relevant for 1) gonadal regulation and 2) sex-typical behavioral modulation. In the second set of experiments, we have exploited the diversity of avian social organizations and ecologies to isolate species-typical group size as a quasi-independent variable. These experiments have shown that specific areas and peptidergic components of the social behavior network possess functional properties that evolve in parallel with divergence and convergence in sociality.
PMCID: PMC2570781  PMID: 15885690
sociality; aggression; sexual behavior; communication; vocalization; arginine vasopressin; arginine vasotocin; isotocin; mesotocin; oxytocin; fish; bird; bed nucleus of the stria terminalis; amygdala; lateral septum; anterior hypothalamus; ventromedial hypothalamus; preoptic area; periaqueductal gray; nucleus intercollicularis; c-fos; egr-1; Zenk
22.  Exonic remnants of whole-genome duplication reveal cis-regulatory function of coding exons 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;38(4):1071-1085.
Using a comparative genomics approach to reconstruct the fate of genomic regulatory blocks (GRBs) and identify exonic remnants that have survived the disappearance of their host genes after whole-genome duplication (WGD) in teleosts, we discover a set of 38 candidate cis-regulatory coding exons (RCEs) with predicted target genes. These elements demonstrate evolutionary separation of overlapping protein-coding and regulatory information after WGD in teleosts. We present evidence that the corresponding mammalian exons are still under both coding and non-coding selection pressure, are more conserved than other protein coding exons in the host gene and several control sets, and share key characteristics with highly conserved non-coding elements in the same regions. Their dual function is corroborated by existing experimental data. Additionally, we show examples of human exon remnants stemming from the vertebrate 2R WGD. Our findings suggest that long-range cis-regulatory inputs for developmental genes are not limited to non-coding regions, but can also overlap the coding sequence of unrelated genes. Thus, exonic regulatory elements in GRBs might be functionally equivalent to those in non-coding regions, calling for a re-evaluation of the sequence space in which to look for long-range regulatory elements and experimentally test their activity.
PMCID: PMC2831330  PMID: 19969543
23.  Different evolutionary patterns of hypoxia-inducible factor α (HIF-α) isoforms in the basal branches of Actinopterygii and Sarcopterygii☆ 
FEBS Open Bio  2013;3:479-483.
Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is a crucial regulator of cellular and systemic responses to low oxygen levels. Here we firstly cloned three HIF-α isoforms from the basal branches of Osteichthyes and used computational tools to characterise the molecular change underlying the functional divergence of HIF-α isoforms in different lineages. Only the HIF-1α and HIF-2α in African lungfish and amphibians were found under positive selection. HIF-1α and -2α were less functionally divergent in basal ray-finned fish than in teleosts, and showed conserved but different transcriptional activity towards specific target genes.
•All three HIF-α isoforms are well preserved in basal ray-finned fish.•The HIF-1α and -2α in amphibians and lungfish are positively selected.•The HIF-1α and -2α are more functionally diverged in teleosts.•The HIF-1α and -2α in different lineages exhibit different levels of activity.
PMCID: PMC3836196  PMID: 24265980
HIF-α; Osteichthyes; Functional divergence; Positive selection; N-ODD, N-terminal oxygen dependent degradation domain; C-ODD, C-terminal oxygen dependent degradation domain; N-TAD, N-terminal trans-activation domain; C-TAD, C-terminal trans-activation domain
24.  A well-constrained estimate for the timing of the salmonid whole genome duplication reveals major decoupling from species diversification 
Whole genome duplication (WGD) is often considered to be mechanistically associated with species diversification. Such ideas have been anecdotally attached to a WGD at the stem of the salmonid fish family, but remain untested. Here, we characterized an extensive set of gene paralogues retained from the salmonid WGD, in species covering the major lineages (subfamilies Salmoninae, Thymallinae and Coregoninae). By combining the data in calibrated relaxed molecular clock analyses, we provide the first well-constrained and direct estimate for the timing of the salmonid WGD. Our results suggest that the event occurred no later in time than 88 Ma and that 40–50 Myr passed subsequently until the subfamilies diverged. We also recovered a Thymallinae–Coregoninae sister relationship with maximal support. Comparative phylogenetic tests demonstrated that salmonid diversification patterns are closely allied in time with the continuous climatic cooling that followed the Eocene–Oligocene transition, with the highest diversification rates coinciding with recent ice ages. Further tests revealed considerably higher speciation rates in lineages that evolved anadromy—the physiological capacity to migrate between fresh and seawater—than in sister groups that retained the ancestral state of freshwater residency. Anadromy, which probably evolved in response to climatic cooling, is an established catalyst of genetic isolation, particularly during environmental perturbations (for example, glaciation cycles). We thus conclude that climate-linked ecophysiological factors, rather than WGD, were the primary drivers of salmonid diversification.
PMCID: PMC3906940  PMID: 24452024
whole genome duplication; species diversification; salmonid fish; climate change; evolution; anadromy
25.  Remarkable morphological stasis in an extant vertebrate despite tens of millions of years of divergence 
The relationship between genotypic and phenotypic divergence over evolutionary time varies widely, and cases of rapid phenotypic differentiation despite genetic similarity have attracted much attention. Here, we report an extreme case of the reverse pattern—morphological stasis in a tropical fish despite massive genetic divergence. We studied the enigmatic African freshwater butterfly fish (Pantodon buchholzi), whose distinctive morphology earns it recognition as a monotypic family. We sequenced the mitochondrial genome of Pantodon from the Congo basin and nine other osteoglossomorph taxa for comparison with previous mitogenomic profiles of Pantodon from the Niger basin and other related taxa. Pantodon populations form a monophyletic group, yet their mitochondrial coding sequences differ by 15.2 per cent between the Niger and Congo basins. The mitogenomic divergence time between these populations is estimated to be greater than 50 Myr, and deep genetic divergence was confirmed by nuclear sequence data. Among six sister-group comparisons of osteoglossomorphs, Pantodon exhibits the slowest rate of morphological divergence despite a level of genetic differentiation comparable to both species-rich (e.g. Mormyridae) and species-poor (e.g. Osteoglossidae) families. Morphological stasis in these two allopatric lineages of Pantodon offers a living vertebrate model for investigating phenotypic stability over millions of generations in the face of profound fluctuations in environmental conditions.
PMCID: PMC3049028  PMID: 20880884
living fossil; morphological stasis; rate of evolution; cryptic diversity; Osteoglossomorpha

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