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|High molecular diversity in the rhodopsin gene in closely related goby fishes: a role for visual pigments in adaptive speciation?|
|Larmuseau, M.H.D.; Huyse, T.; Vancampenhout, K.; Van Houdt, J.K.J.; Volckaert, F.A.M. (2010). High molecular diversity in the rhodopsin gene in closely related goby fishes: a role for visual pigments in adaptive speciation? Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 55(2): 689-698. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2009.10.007|
|In: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. Elsevier: Orlando. ISSN 1055-7903, more|
Epipelagic zone; Genes; Photic environment; Phylogeny; Rhodopsin; Visual pigments; Gobiidae [WoRMS]; Marine
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The spectral tuning mechanism of visual pigments is an excellent model to elucidate the mechanisms of adaptive evolution and the importance of selection as an evolutionary force. Therefore, we use a phylogenetic approach to determine whether there is evidence for differential adaptive molecular evolution on the rhodopsin (RH1) gene among closely related ‘sand goby’ species (Teleostei, Gobiidae). Fragments of the RH1 gene (868 bp) were sequenced and analyzed for nine ‘sand goby’ species that inhabit different photic environments. A high level of interspecific polymorphism at the RH1 gene was observed, including non-synonymous mutations on amino acids known as spectral tuning sites. Clear indications for positive Darwinian selection were provided by three independent methods: (1) by linking functional variation on the RH1 gene to specific light environments of the different fish habitats; (2) by constructing and comparing phylogenies based on RH1 and the ‘neutral’ 12S and 16S mtDNA fragments; and (3) by performing statistical tests to detect signatures of directional selection on the RH1 gene. This study shows an unusual high variability in the gobiid visual RH1 pigment, and we therefore suggest a possible role for sensory genes in the adaptive radiation of ‘sand goby’ species.