Journal Article

Genome-Wide Detection of Gene Extinction in Early Mammalian Evolution

Shigehiro Kuraku and Shigeru Kuratani

in Genome Biology and Evolution

Published on behalf of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 3, issue , pages 1449-1462
Published in print January 2011 |
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1759-6653 | DOI:

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  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
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Detecting gene losses is a novel aspect of evolutionary genomics that has been made feasible by whole-genome sequencing. However, research to date has concentrated on elucidating evolutionary patterns of genomic components shared between species, rather than identifying disparities between genomes. In this study, we searched for gene losses in the lineage leading to eutherian mammals. First, as a pilot analysis, we selected five gene families (Wnt, Fgf, Tbx, TGFβ, and Frizzled) for molecular phylogenetic analyses, and identified mammalian lineage-specific losses of Wnt11b, Tbx6L/VegT/tbx16, Nodal-related, ADMP1, ADMP2, Sizzled, and Crescent. Second, automated genome-wide phylogenetic screening was implemented based on this pilot analysis. As a result, we detected 147 chicken genes without eutherian orthologs, which resulted from 141 gene loss events. Our inventory contained a group of regulatory genes governing early embryonic axis formation, such as Noggins, and multiple members of the opsin and prolactin-releasing hormone receptor (“PRLHR”) gene families. Our findings highlight the potential of genome-wide gene phylogeny (“phylome”) analysis in detecting possible rearrangement of gene networks and the importance of identifying losses of ancestral genomic components in analyzing the molecular basis underlying phenotypic evolution.

Keywords: gene loss; Nodal; Noggin; hidden paralogy; prolactin-releasing hormone receptor (PRLHR)

Journal Article.  7435 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology ; Evolutionary Biology ; Genetics and Genomics

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