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Gene. 2004 Jan 21;325:123-35.

Identification of 24 genes and two pseudogenes coding for olfactory receptors in Japanese loach, classified into four subfamilies: a putative evolutionary process for fish olfactory receptor genes by comprehensive phylogenetic analysis.

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Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.

Erratum in

  • Gene. 2004 Mar 17;328:203-4.


Twenty-four olfactory receptor (OR) genes and two pseudogenes have been identified in the genome of Japanese loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus). The genes were classified into four subfamilies according to the similarity of the amino acid sequences. In each subfamily, members showed high sequence similarity not only to each other but also to orthologues of other fish species. The number of members in each OR subfamily was roughly estimated to be from 3 to 10 by genomic Southern blot analysis. The genes of all four OR subfamilies were shown to express on olfactory neurons of the olfactory epithelium by in situ hybridization analysis. Two major features of fish OR genes were found by comprehensive and comparative analyses on OR genes of Japanese loach and other fish species including catfish, zebrafish and pufferfish. First, the phylogenetic tree comprising of representative subfamily members suggests the existence of several prototype genes common to the genomes of many fish species. Second, when all members of orthologous subfamilies identified in each clade of the tree are integrated, the members of a single species comprise a monophyletic group. This means that 'intraspecies' sequence homology, that is, homology among paralogous genes of the same subfamily in a species, is higher than 'interspecies' homology, that is, homology between orthologous genes of different species. This suggests that the subfamily members of a species have evolved recently. Taken together, fish OR genes have evolved from a limited number of prototype genes common to most fish species, and several genes in a subfamily have diversely evolved in each species from each prototype.

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