Widespread retention of ohnologs in key developmental gene families following whole genome duplication in arachnopulmonates

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology


Whole genome duplications (WGD) have occurred multiple times in the evolution of animals, including in the lineages leading to vertebrates, teleosts, horseshoe crabs and arachnopulmonates. These dramatic genomic events initially produce a wealth of new genetic material, which is generally followed by extensive gene loss. It appears that developmental genes such as homeobox genes, signalling pathway components and microRNAs, however, tend to be more frequently retained in duplicate following WGD (ohnologs). These not only provide the best evidence for the occurrence of WGD, but an opportunity to study its evolutionary implications. Although these genes are relatively well studied in the context of vertebrate WGD, genomic and transcriptomic data for independent comparison in other groups are scarce, with patchy sampling of only two of the five extant arachnopulmonate orders. To improve our knowledge of developmental gene repertoires, and their evolution since the arachnopulmonate WGD, we sequenced embryonic transcriptomes from two additional spider species and two whip spider species and surveyed them for three important gene families: Hox, Wnt and frizzled. We report extensive retention of ohnologs in all four species, further s...Continue Reading

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