Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mol Biol Evol. 2001 Mar;18(3):376-83.

Polymorphism in abalone fertilization proteins is consistent with the neutral evolution of the egg's receptor for lysin (VERL) and positive darwinian selection of sperm lysin.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-2703, USA. wjs18@cornell.edu


The evolution of species-specific fertilization in free-spawning marine invertebrates is important for reproductive isolation and may contribute to speciation. The biochemistry and evolution of proteins mediating species-specific fertilization have been extensively studied in the abalone (genus Haliotis). The nonenzymatic sperm protein lysin creates a hole in the egg vitelline envelope by species-specifically binding to its egg receptor, VERL. The divergence of lysin is promoted by positive Darwinian selection. In contrast, the evolution of VERL does not depart from neutrality. Here, we cloned a novel nonrepetitive region of VERL and performed an intraspecific polymorphism survey for red (Haliotis rufescens) and pink (Haliotis corrugata) abalones to explore the evolutionary forces affecting VERL. Six statistical tests showed that the evolution of VERL did not depart from neutrality. Interestingly, there was a subdivision in the VERL sequences in the pink abalone and a lack of heterozygous individuals between groups, suggesting that the evolution of assortative mating may be in progress. These results are consistent with a model which posits that egg VERL is neutrally evolving, perhaps due to its repetitive structure, while sperm lysin is subjected to positive Darwinian selection to maintain efficient interaction of the two proteins during sperm competition.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk