Journal Article

Comparison of Gene Repertoires and Patterns of Evolutionary Rates in Eight Aphid Species That Differ by Reproductive Mode

M. Ollivier, T. Gabaldón, J. Poulain, F. Gavory, N. Leterme, J.-P. Gauthier, F. Legeai, D. Tagu, J. C. Simon and C. Rispe

in Genome Biology and Evolution

Published on behalf of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 4, issue 2, pages 155-167
Published in print January 2012 |
Published online January 2012 | e-ISSN: 1759-6653 | DOI:

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In theory, the loss of sexual reproduction is expected to result in the accumulation of deleterious mutations. In aphids, two main types of life cycle, cyclic and obligate parthenogenesis, represent respectively “sexual” and “asexual” reproductive modes. We used the complete pea aphid genome and previously published expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from two other aphid species. In addition, we obtained 100,000 new ESTs from five more species. The final set comprised four sexual and four asexual aphid species and served to test the influence of the reproductive mode on the evolutionary rates of genes. We reconstructed coding sequences from ESTs and annotated these genes, discovering a novel peptide gene family that appears to be among the most highly expressed transcripts from several aphid species. From 203 genes found to be 1:1 orthologs among the eight species considered, we established a species tree that partly conflicted with taxonomy (for Myzus ascalonicus). We then used this topology to evaluate the dynamics of evolutionary rates and mutation accumulation in the four sexual and four asexual taxa. No significant increase of the nonsynonymous to synonymous ratio or of nonsynonymous mutation numbers was found in any of the four branches for asexual taxa. We however found a significant increase of the synonymous rate in the branch leading to the asexual species Rhopalosiphum maidis, which could be due to a change in the mutation rate or to an increased number of generations implied by its change of life cycle.

Keywords: reproductive mode; aphids; evolutionary rates; phylome; orthologs; EST

Journal Article.  7483 words.  Illustrated.

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

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