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Frequent Expansions of the Bitter Taste Receptor Gene Repertoire during Evolution of Mammals in the Euarchontoglires Clade

Takashi Hayakawa, Nami Suzuki-Hashido, Atsushi Matsui, and Yasuhiro Go

Genome studies of mammals in the superorder Euarchontoglires (a clade that comprises the orders Primates, Dermoptera, Scandentia, Rodentia, and Lagomorpha) are important for understanding the biological features of humans, particularly studies of medical model animals such as macaques and mice. Furthermore, the dynamic ecoevolutionary signatures of Euarchontoglires genomes may be discovered because many species in this clade are characterized by their successful adaptive radiation to various ecological niches. In this study, we investigated the evolutionary trajectory of bitter taste receptor genes (TAS2Rs) in 28 Euarchontoglires species based on homology searches of 39 whole-genome assemblies. The Euarchontoglires species possessed variable numbers of intact TAS2Rs, which ranged from 16 to 40, and their last common ancestor had at least 26 intact TAS2Rs. The gene tree showed that there have been at least seven lineage-specific events involving massive gene duplications. Gene duplications were particularly evident in the ancestral branches of anthropoids (the anthropoid cluster), which may have promoted the adaptive evolution of anthropoid characteristics, such as a trade-off between olfaction and other senses and the development of herbivorous characteristics. Subsequent whole-gene deletions of anthropoid cluster TAS2Rs in hominoid species suggest ongoing ectopic homologous recombination in the anthropoid cluster. These findings provide insights into the roles of adaptive sensory evolution in various ecological niches and important clues related to the molecular mechanisms that underlie taste diversity in Euarchontoglires mammalian species, including humans.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msu144

Molecular Biology and Evolution 2014; doi: 10.1093/molbev/msu144
First published online: April 23, 2014

MAY/27/2014

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