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How fish conquered the ocean

professor Hans Jørgen Fyhn, a colleague of Dr. Finn, and adds, "This is especially so for their newly spawned eggs since they lack the adult organs and mechanisms responsible for coping with these problems. For years we studied various aspects of the physiological adaptations of the fish egg to the marine environment. It is most satisfying that Dr. Finn has been able to tie the threads together in molecular and evolutionary terms with their impressive, comparative sequence alignment study of the involved yolk genes and proteins as published in PLoS ONE".

In the paper the authors (RN Finn & BA Kristoffersen) have used Bayesian analysis to examine the evolution of vertebrate yolk protein (vitellogenin) genes in relation to the "Three round hypothesis" of whole genome duplication among vertebrates, and the functional end points of the vitellogenin fractional degradation during the final stages of oogenesis, a period that prepares the egg for spawning and fertilization. They show that teleost vitellogenins have undergone a post-R3 lineage-specific gene duplication to form paralogous clusters that correlate to the pelagic and benthic character of the eggs. The alteration in the function (neo-functionalization) of one of the duplicated genes (paralogues) allowed its yolk protein products to be broken down to free amino acids and thus drive hydration of the maturing eggs. The timing of these events matches the appearance of the vast numbers of marine acanthomorph teleosts in the fossil record. The authors propose that the neo-functionalization of duplicated vitellogenin genes was a key event in the evolution and success of the acanthomorph teleosts in the oceanic environment.

"This study is an exciting part of our research focus in Developmental Biology of Fishes, and the work published in PLoS ONE is clearly a high point of these efforts" says professor Jarl Giske, head of the Department of Biology at the University of Bergen."It is stimulating to
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Source:Public Library of Science


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