Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mol Biol Evol. 2007 Oct;24(10):2286-97. Epub 2007 Aug 3.

Positive selection and gene conversion in SPP120, a fertilization-related gene, during the East African cichlid fish radiation.

Author information

Lehrstuhl für Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany.


The ability to infer historical natural selection from sequence data aides in finding genes that might be important in adaptation and the formation of new species. As the fastest evolving and largest known vertebrate radiation, the cichlid fish of the African Great Lakes exhibit a wide range of recent morphological diversification. We used DNA databases, mostly of expressed sequence tags, to find candidate orthologous coding sequences from 2 tribes of cichlids and, using an automated procedure, scanned these sequence pairs for high dN/dS, the signal of positive selection and protein adaptation. The results included vertebrate genes commonly found to be under selection (e.g., major histocompatibility complex [MHC] loci) as well as genes known to be important specifically in the cichlid radiation (e.g., long-wave-sensitive opsins). Further investigation focused on a gene encoding a fertilization-related protein, SPP120, which was previously known only from cichlids. Using maximum likelihood analysis on novel SPP120 cDNA sequences from a range of African cichlids, we demonstrate the influence of positive selection in a specific subregion of the protein. We also show that SPP120 is a tandemly arranged, multicopy gene evolving with occasional interlocus gene conversion. A search of the Medaka genome database also revealed a tandem arrangement of multiple SPP120 copies and evolutionary rate differences between Medaka gene subregions mirroring those found for cichlids. Combined, these results suggest that SPP120 has been under repeated diversifying selection for over 100 Myr.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
    Loading ...
    Support Center