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J Mol Evol. 1994 Mar;38(3):215-31.

Evolution of the primate cytochrome c oxidase subunit II gene.

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Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843.


We examined the nucleotide and amino acid sequence variation of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit II (COII) gene from 25 primates (4 hominoids, 8 Old World monkeys, 2 New World monkeys, 2 tarsiers, 7 lemuriforms, 2 lorisiforms). Marginal support was found for three phylogenetic conclusions: (1) sister-group relationship between tarsiers and a monkey/ape clade, (2) placement of the aye-aye (Daubentonia) sister to all other strepsirhine primates, and (3) rejection of a sister-group relationship of dwarf lemurs (i.e., Cheirogaleus) with lorisiform primates. Stronger support was found for a sister-group relationship between the ring-tail lemur (Lemur catta) and the gentle lemurs (Hapalemur). In congruence with previous studies on COII, we found that the monkeys and apes have undergone a nearly two-fold increase in the rate of amino acid replacement relative to other primates. Although functionally important amino acids are generally conserved among all primates, the acceleration in amino acid replacements in higher primates is associated with increased variation in the amino terminal end of the protein. Additionally, the replacement of two carboxyl-bearing residues (glutamate and aspartate) at positions 114 and 115 may provide a partial explanation for the poor enzyme kinetics in cross-reactions between the cytochromes c and cytochrome c oxidases of higher primates and other mammals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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