BMC Evolutionary Biology

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ISSN / EISSN : 1471-2148 / 1471-2148
Published by: Springer Nature (10.1186)
Total articles ≅ 4,251
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Solène Song, Viktor Starunov, Xavier Bailly, Christine Ruta, Pierre Kerner, Annemiek J. M. Cornelissen,
Published: 29 December 2020
BMC Evolutionary Biology, Volume 20, pp 1-23;

Background: How vascular systems and their respiratory pigments evolved is still debated. While many animals present a vascular system, hemoglobin exists as a blood pigment only in a few groups (vertebrates, annelids, a few arthropod and mollusk species). Hemoglobins are formed of globin sub-units, belonging to multigene families, in various multimeric assemblages. It was so far unclear whether hemoglobin families from different bilaterian groups had a common origin. Results: To unravel globin evolution in bilaterians, we studied the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii, a species with a slow evolving genome. Platynereis exhibits a closed vascular system filled with extracellular hemoglobin. Platynereis genome and transcriptomes reveal a family of 19 globins, nine of which are predicted to be extracellular. Extracellular globins are produced by specialized cells lining the vessels of the segmental appendages of the worm, serving as gills, and thus likely participate in the assembly of a previously characterized annelid-specific giant hemoglobin. Extracellular globin mRNAs are absent in smaller juveniles, accumulate considerably in growing and more active worms and peak in swarming adults, as the need for O2 culminates. Next, we conducted a metazoan-wide phylogenetic analysis of globins using data from complete genomes. We establish that five globin genes (stem globins) were present in the last common ancestor of bilaterians. Based on these results, we propose a new nomenclature of globins, with five clades. All five ancestral stem-globin clades are retained in some spiralians, while some clades disappeared early in deuterostome and ecdysozoan evolution. All known bilaterian blood globin families are grouped in a single clade (clade I) together with intracellular globins of bilaterians devoid of red blood. Conclusions: We uncover a complex “pre-blood” evolution of globins, with an early gene radiation in ancestral bilaterians. Circulating hemoglobins in various bilaterian groups evolved convergently, presumably in correlation with animal size and activity. However, all hemoglobins derive from a clade I globin, or cytoglobin, probably involved in intracellular O2 transit and regulation. The annelid Platynereis is remarkable in having a large family of extracellular blood globins, while retaining all clades of ancestral bilaterian globins.
, Nadezhda A. Potapova, Sergey A. Spirin
Published: 11 December 2020
BMC Evolutionary Biology, Volume 20, pp 1-8;

Background: Eukaryotic protein-coding genes consist of exons and introns. Exon–intron borders are conserved between species and thus their changes might be observed only on quite long evolutionary distances. One of the rarest types of change, in which intron relocates over a short distance, is called "intron sliding", but the reality of this event has been debated for a long time. The main idea of a search for intron sliding is to use the most accurate genome annotation and genome sequence, as well as high-quality transcriptome data. We applied them in a search for sliding introns in mammals in order to widen knowledge about the presence or absence of such phenomena in this group. Results: We didn’t find any significant evidence of intron sliding in the primate group (human, chimpanzee, rhesus macaque, crab-eating macaque, green monkey, marmoset). Only one possible intron sliding event supported by a set of high quality transcriptomes was observed between EIF1AX human and sheep gene orthologs. Also, we checked a list of previously observed intron sliding events in mammals and showed that most likely they are artifacts of genome annotations and are not shown in subsequent annotation versions as well as are not supported by transcriptomic data. Conclusions: We assume that intron sliding is indeed a very rare evolutionary event if it exists at all. Every case of intron sliding needs a lot of supportive data for detection and confirmation.
Manuel Seefelder, Vikram Alva, Bin Bin Huang, Tatjana Engler, Wolfgang Baumeister, Qiang Guo, Rubén Fernández-Busnadiego, ,
Published: 9 December 2020
BMC Evolutionary Biology, Volume 20, pp 1-18;

Background: The huntingtin-associated protein 40 (HAP40) abundantly interacts with huntingtin (HTT), the protein that is altered in Huntington’s disease (HD). Therefore, we analysed the evolution of HAP40 and its interaction with HTT.Results: We found that in amniotes HAP40 is encoded by a single-exon gene, whereas in all other organisms it is expressed from multi-exon genes. HAP40 co-occurs with HTT in unikonts, including filastereans such asCapsaspora owczarzakiand the amoebozoanDictyostelium discoideum,but both proteins are absent from fungi.Outside unikonts, a few species, such as the free-living amoeboflagellateNaegleria gruberi, contain putative HTT and HAP40 orthologs.Biochemically we show that the interaction between HTT and HAP40 extends to fish, and bioinformatic analyses provide evidence for evolutionary conservation of this interaction. The closest homologue of HAP40 in current protein databases is the family of soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment proteins (SNAPs).Conclusion: Our results indicate that the transition from a multi-exon to a single-exon gene appears to have taken place by retroposition during the divergence of amphibians and amniotes, followed by the loss of the parental multi-exon gene. Furthermore, it appears that the two proteins probably originated at the root of eukaryotes. Conservation of the interaction between HAP40 and HTT and their likely coevolution strongly indicate functional importance of this interaction.
Published: 9 December 2020
BMC Evolutionary Biology, Volume 20, pp 1-13;

Background: Trypanosomes are single-celled eukaryotic parasites characterised by the unique biology of their mitochondrial DNA. African livestock trypanosomes impose a major burden on agriculture across sub-Saharan Africa, but are poorly understood compared to those that cause sleeping sickness and Chagas disease in humans. Here we explore the potential of the maxicircle, a component of trypanosome mitochondrial DNA to study the evolutionary history of trypanosomes. Results: We used long-read sequencing to completely assemble maxicircle mitochondrial DNA from four previously uncharacterized African trypanosomes, and leveraged these assemblies to scaffold and assemble a further 103 trypanosome maxicircle gene coding regions from published short-read data. While synteny was largely conserved, there were repeated, independent losses of Complex I genes. Comparison of pre-edited and non-edited genes revealed the impact of RNA editing on nucleotide composition, with non-edited genes approaching the limits of GC loss. African tsetse-transmitted trypanosomes showed high levels of RNA editing compared to other trypanosomes. The gene coding regions of maxicircle mitochondrial DNAs were used to construct time-resolved phylogenetic trees, revealing deep divergence events among isolates of the pathogens Trypanosoma brucei and T. congolense. Conclusions: Our data represents a new resource for experimental and evolutionary analyses of trypanosome phylogeny, molecular evolution and function. Molecular clock analyses yielded a timescale for trypanosome evolution congruent with major biogeographical events in Africa and revealed the recent emergence of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and T. equiperdum, major human and animal pathogens.
Falk Eckhardt, Angela Pauliny, Nicky Rollings, Frank Mutschmann, Mats Olsson, Cornelia Kraus,
Published: 1 December 2020
BMC Evolutionary Biology, Volume 20, pp 1-11;

Background: Life history theory predicts that during the lifespan of an organism, resources are allocated to either growth, somatic maintenance or reproduction. Resource allocation trade-offs determine the evolution and ecology of different life history strategies and define an organisms’ position along a fast–slow continuum in interspecific comparisons. Labord’s chameleon (Furcifer labordi) from the seasonal dry forests of Madagascar is the tetrapod species with the shortest reported lifespan (4–9 months). Previous investigations revealed that their lifespan is to some degree dependent on environmental factors, such as the amount of rainfall and the length of the vegetation period. However, the intrinsic mechanisms shaping such a fast life history remain unknown. Environmental stressors are known to increase the secretion of glucocorticoids in other vertebrates, which, in turn, can shorten telomeres via oxidative stress. To investigate to what extent age-related changes in these molecular and cellular mechanisms contribute to the relatively short lifetime of F. labordi, we assessed the effects of stressors indirectly via leukocyte profiles (H/L ratio) and quantified relative telomere length from blood samples in a wild population in Kirindy Forest. We compared our findings with the sympatric, but longer-lived sister species F. cf. nicosiai, which exhibit the same annual timing of reproductive events, and with wild-caught F. labordi that were singly housed under ambient conditions. Results: We found that H/L ratios were consistently higher in wild F. labordi compared to F. cf. nicosiai. Moreover, F. labordi already exhibited relatively short telomeres during the mating season when they were 3–4 months old, and telomeres further shortened during their post-reproductive lives. At the beginning of their active season, telomere length was relatively longer in F. cf. nicosiai, but undergoing rapid shortening towards the southern winter, when both species gradually die off. Captive F. labordi showed comparatively longer lifespans and lower H/L ratios than their wild counterparts. Conclusion: We suggest that environmental stress and the corresponding accelerated telomere attrition have profound effects on the lifespan of F. labordi in the wild, and identify physiological mechanisms potentially driving their relatively early senescence and mortality.
Akashdeep Dhillon, Tabashir Chowdhury, Yolanda E. Morbey,
Published: 30 November 2020
BMC Evolutionary Biology, Volume 20, pp 1-9;

Background: Sperm storage plays a key role in the reproductive success of many sexually-reproducing organisms, and the capacity of long-term sperm storage varies across species. While there are theoretical explanations for why such variation exists, to date there are no controlled empirical tests of the reproductive consequences of additional long-term sperm storage. While Dipterans ancestrally have three long-term sperm organs, known as the spermathecae,Drosophilacontain only two.Results: We identified a candidate gene, which we callspermathreecae(sp3), in which a disruption cause the development of three functional spermathecae rather than the usual two inDrosophila. We used this disruption to test the reproductive consequences of having an additional long-term sperm storage organ. Compared to females with two spermathecae, females with three spermathecae store a greater total number of sperm and can produce offspring a greater length of time. However, they did not produce a greater total number of offspring.Conclusions: Thus, additional long-term sperm storage in insects may increase female fitness through extending the range of conditions where she produces offspring, or through increasing the quality of offspring via enhanced local sperm competition at fertilization.
Takashi Seiko, Takushi Kishida, Mina Toyama, Takahiko Hariyama, Takashi Okitsu, Akimori Wada, Mamoru Toda, Yoko Satta,
Published: 26 November 2020
BMC Evolutionary Biology, Volume 20, pp 1-13;

Background: Evolutionary transitions from terrestrial to aquatic life history cause drastic changes in sensory systems. Indeed, the drastic changes in vision have been reported in many aquatic amniotes, convergently. Recently, the opsin genes of the full-aquatic sea snakes have been reported. However, those of the amphibious sea snakes have not been examined in detail. Results: Here, we investigated opsin genes and visual pigments of sea snakes. We determined the sequences of SWS1, LWS, and RH1 genes from one terrestrial, three amphibious and four fully-aquatic elapids. Amino acid replacements at four and one spectra-tuning positions were found in LWS and RH1, respectively. We measured or predicted absorption of LWS and RH1 pigments with A1-derived retinal. During their evolution, blue shifts of LWS pigments have occurred stepwise in amphibious sea snakes and convergently in both amphibious and fully-aquatic species. Conclusions: Blue shifted LWS pigments may have adapted to deep water or open water environments dominated by blue light. The evolution of opsins differs between marine mammals (cetaceans and pinnipeds) and sea snakes in two fundamental ways: (1) pseudogenization of opsins in marine mammals; and (2) large blue shifts of LWS pigments in sea snakes. It may be possible to explain these two differences at the level of photoreceptor cell composition given that cone and rod cells both exist in mammals whereas only cone cells exist in fully-aquatic sea snakes. We hypothesize that the differences in photoreceptor cell compositions may have differentially affected the evolution of opsins in divergent amniote lineages.
Richard J. Howard, Gregory D. Edgecombe, Xiaomei Shi, ,
Published: 23 November 2020
BMC Evolutionary Biology, Volume 20, pp 1-18;

Background: Ecdysozoa are the moulting protostomes, including arthropods, tardigrades, and nematodes. Both the molecular and fossil records indicate that Ecdysozoa is an ancient group originating in the terminal Proterozoic, and exceptional fossil biotas show their dominance and diversity at the beginning of the Phanerozoic. However, the nature of the ecdysozoan common ancestor has been difficult to ascertain due to the extreme morphological diversity of extant Ecdysozoa, and the lack of early diverging taxa in ancient fossil biotas. Results: Here we re-describe Acosmia maotiania from the early Cambrian Chengjiang Biota of Yunnan Province, China and assign it to stem group Ecdysozoa. Acosmia features a two-part body, with an anterior proboscis bearing a terminal mouth and muscular pharynx, and a posterior annulated trunk with a through gut. Morphological phylogenetic analyses of the protostomes using parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference, with coding informed by published experimental decay studies, each placed Acosmia as sister taxon to Cycloneuralia + Panarthropoda—i.e. stem group Ecdysozoa. Ancestral state probabilities were calculated for key ecdysozoan nodes, in order to test characters inferred from fossils to be ancestral for Ecdysozoa. Results support an ancestor of crown group ecdysozoans sharing an annulated vermiform body with a terminal mouth like Acosmia, but also possessing the pharyngeal armature and circumoral structures characteristic of Cambrian cycloneuralians and lobopodians. Conclusions: Acosmia is the first taxon placed in the ecdysozoan stem group and provides a constraint to test hypotheses on the early evolution of Ecdysozoa. Our study suggests acquisition of pharyngeal armature, and therefore a change in feeding strategy (e.g. predation), may have characterised the origin and radiation of crown group ecdysozoans from Acosmia-like ancestors.
, Dietrich Gotzek, Seán G. Brady,
Published: 23 November 2020
BMC Evolutionary Biology, Volume 20, pp 1-22;

Background: Parasitoidism, a specialized life strategy in which a parasite eventually kills its host, is frequently found within the insect order Hymenoptera (wasps, ants and bees). A parasitoid lifestyle is one of two dominant life strategies within the hymenopteran superfamily Cynipoidea, with the other being an unusual plant-feeding behavior known as galling. Less commonly, cynipoid wasps exhibit inquilinism, a strategy where some species have adapted to usurp other species’ galls instead of inducing their own. Using a phylogenomic data set of ultraconserved elements from nearly all lineages of Cynipoidea, we here generate a robust phylogenetic framework and timescale to understand cynipoid systematics and the evolution of these life histories.Results: Our reconstructed evolutionary history for Cynipoidea differs considerably from previous hypotheses. Rooting our analyses with non-cynipoid outgroups, the Paraulacini, a group of inquilines, emerged as sister-group to the rest of Cynipoidea, rendering the gall wasp family Cynipidae paraphyletic. The families Ibaliidae and Liopteridae, long considered archaic and early-branching parasitoid lineages, were found nested well within the Cynipoidea as sister-group to the parasitoid Figitidae. Cynipoidea originated in the early Jurassic around 190 Ma. Either inquilinism or parasitoidism is suggested as the ancestral and dominant strategy throughout the early evolution of cynipoids, depending on whether a simple (three states: parasitoidism, inquilinism and galling) or more complex (seven states: parasitoidism, inquilinism and galling split by host use) model is employed.Conclusions: Our study has significant impact on understanding cynipoid evolution and highlights the importance of adequate outgroup sampling. We discuss the evolutionary timescale of the superfamily in relation to their insect hosts and host plants, and outline how phytophagous galling behavior may have evolved from entomophagous, parasitoid cynipoids. Our study has established the framework for further physiological and comparative genomic work between gall-making, inquiline and parasitoid lineages, which could also have significant implications for the evolution of diverse life histories in other Hymenoptera.
Zhenhua Yang, , Yun Jia, Yan Zheng, Hu Meng, Tonglaga Bao, Xiaolong Li, Liaofu Luo
Published: 23 November 2020
BMC Evolutionary Biology, Volume 20, pp 1-15;

Background: K-mer spectra of DNA sequences contain important information about sequence composition and sequence evolution. We want to reveal the evolution rules of genome sequences by studying the k-mer spectra of genome sequences. Results: The intrinsic laws of k-mer spectra of 920 genome sequences from primate to prokaryote were analyzed. We found that there are two types of evolution selection modes in genome sequences, named as CG Independent Selection and TA Independent Selection. There is a mutual inhibition relationship between CG and TA independent selections. We found that the intensity of CG and TA independent selections correlates closely with genome evolution and G + C content of genome sequences. The living habits of species are related closely to the independent selection modes adopted by species genomes. Consequently, we proposed an evolution mechanism of genomes in which the genome evolution is determined by the intensities of the CG and TA independent selections and the mutual inhibition relationship. Besides, by the evolution mechanism of genomes, we speculated the evolution modes of prokaryotes in mild and extreme environments in the anaerobic age and the evolving process of prokaryotes from anaerobic to aerobic environment on earth as well as the originations of different eukaryotes. Conclusion: We found that there are two independent selection modes in genome sequences. The evolution of genome sequence is determined by the two independent selection modes and the mutual inhibition relationship between them.
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