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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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  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolution, State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA.


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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