Evolution of the cichlid visual palette through ontogenetic subfunctionalization of the opsin gene arrays

Molecular Biology and Evolution
T C SpadyKaren L Carleton

Abstract

The evolution of cone opsin genes is characterized by a dynamic process of gene birth and death through gene duplication and loss. However, the forces governing the retention and death of opsin genes are poorly understood. African cichlid fishes have a range of ecologies, differing in habitat and foraging style, which make them ideal for examining the selective forces acting on the opsin gene family. In this work, we present data on the riverine cichlid, Oreochromis niloticus, which is an ancestral outgroup to the cichlid adaptive radiations in the Great African lakes. We identify 7 cone opsin genes with several instances of gene duplication. We also characterize the spectral sensitivities of these genes through reconstitution of visual pigments. Peak absorbances demonstrate that each tilapia cone opsin gene codes for a spectrally distinct visual pigment: SWS1 (360 nm), SWS2b (423 nm), SWS2a (456 nm), Rh2b (472 nm), Rh2a beta (518 nm), Rh2a alpha (528 nm), and LWS (561 nm). Furthermore, quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction at 3 ontogenetic time points demonstrates that although only 4 genes (SWS2a, Rh2a alpha and beta, and LWS) are expressed in adults, mRNAs for the other genes are all expressed during o...Continue Reading

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Citations

Jun 5, 2010·Journal of Molecular Evolution·Adam R Smith, Karen L Carleton
Dec 21, 2010·Journal of Molecular Evolution·Corey T WatsonFelix Breden
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