Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biol Lett. 2005 Dec 22;1(4):496-9.

Regressive evolution of an eye pigment gene in independently evolved eyeless subterranean diving beetles.

Author information

  • 1Evolutionary Biology Unit, South Australian Museum, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.


Regressive evolution, the reduction or total loss of non-functional characters, is a fairly common evolutionary phenomenon in subterranean taxa. However, the genetic basis of regressive evolution is not well understood. Here we investigate the molecular evolution of the eye pigment gene cinnabar in several independently evolved lineages of subterranean water beetles using maximum likelihood analyses. We found that in eyeless lineages cinnabar has an increased rate of sequence evolution, as well as mutations leading to frame shifts and stop codons, indicative of pseudogenes. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that regressive evolution of eyes proceeds by random mutations, in the absence of selection, that ultimately lead to the loss of gene function in protein-coding genes specific to the eye pathway.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

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