Relaxed selective pressure on an essential component of pheromone transduction in primate evolution.

Bibliographic Collection: 
MOCA Reference, APE
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Liman, Emily R; Innan, Hideki
Year of Publication: 2003
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Volume: 100
Issue: 6
Pagination: 3328-32
Date Published: 2003 Mar 18
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 0027-8424
Keywords: Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Base Sequence, Calcium Channels, Cebidae, Cercopithecidae, DNA, Evolution, Molecular, Hominidae, Humans, Ion Channels, Membrane Proteins, Mice, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutation, Pheromones, Phylogeny, Primates, Selection, Genetic, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid, Species Specificity, TRPC Cation Channels, TRPM Cation Channels, Vomeronasal Organ

The vomeronasal organ (VNO) detects pheromones in many vertebrate species but is likely to be vestigial in humans. TRPC2(TRP2), a gene that is essential for VNO function in the mouse, is a pseudogene in humans. Because TRPC2 is expressed only in the VNO, the loss of selective pressure on this gene can serve as a molecular marker for the time at which the VNO became vestigial. By analyzing sequence data from the TRPC2 gene of 15 extant primate species, we provide evidence that the VNO was most likely functional in the common ancestor of New World monkeys and Old World monkeys and apes, but then became vestigial in the common ancestor of Old World monkeys and apes. We propose that, at this point in evolution, other modalities, notably the development of color vision, may have largely replaced signaling by pheromones.

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0636123100
Alternate Journal: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
Related MOCA Topics: