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Mol Biol Evol. 1998 Dec;15(12):1761-71.

The molecular evolution of sperm bindin in six species of sea urchins (Echinoida: Strongylocentrotidae).

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  • Department of Ecology and Evolution, State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA. c.h.biermann@biosci.hull.ac.uk


The acrosomal protein bindin attaches sperm to eggs during sea urchin fertilization. Complementary to ongoing functional biochemical studies, I take a comparative approach to explore the molecular evolution of bindin in a group of closely related free-spawning echinoid species. Two alleles of the mature bindin gene were sequenced for each of six species in the sea urchin family Strongylocentrotidae. The nucleotide sequences diverged by at least 1% per Myr at both silent and replacement sites. Two short sections flanking the conserved block show an excess of nonsynonymous substitutions. Each is homologous to a region that had been identified as a target of selection in other sea urchin comparisons. A large proportion of the bindin-coding sequence consists of a highly variable repeat region. Bindin sequences, even including the large intron, could not resolve the branching order among five of the species.

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