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Deciphering the evolutionary signatures of pinnipeds using novel genome sequences: The first genomes of Phoca largha, Callorhinus ursinus, and Eumetopias jubatus썸네일
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Scientific Reports 15 Nov 2018

The pinnipeds, which comprise seals, sea lions, and walruses, are a remarkable group of marine animals with unique adaptations to semi-aquatic life. However, their genomes are poorly characterized. In this study, we sequenced and characterized the genomes of three pinnipeds (Phoca largha, Callorhinus ursinus, and Eumetopias jubatus), focusing on site-wise sequence changes. We detected rapidly evolving genes in pinniped lineages and substitutions unique to pinnipeds associated with amphibious sound perception. Phenotypic convergence-related sequence convergences are not common in marine mammals. For example, FASN, KCNA5, and IL17RA contain substitutions specific to pinnipeds, yet are potential candidates of phenotypic convergence (blubber, response to hypoxia, and immunity to pathogens) in all marine mammals. The outcomes of this study will provide insight into targets for future studies of convergent evolution or gene function.

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Zygotic gene activation in the chicken occurs in two waves, the first involving only maternally derived genes썸네일
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eLife 30 Oct 2018

The first wave of transcriptional activation occurs after fertilisation in a species-specific pattern. Despite its importance to initial embryonic development, the characteristics of transcription following fertilisation are poorly understood in Aves. Here, we report detailed insights into the onset of genome activation in chickens. We established that two waves of transcriptional activation occurred, one shortly after fertilisation and another at Eyal-Giladi and Kochav Stage V. We found 1544 single nucleotide polymorphisms across 424 transcripts derived from parents that were expressed in offspring during the early embryonic stages. Surprisingly, only the maternal genome was activated in the zygote, and the paternal genome remained silent until the second-wave, regardless of the presence of a paternal pronucleus or supernumerary sperm in the egg. The identified maternal genes involved in cleavage that were replaced by bi-allelic expression. The results demonstrate that only maternal alleles are activated in the chicken zygote upon fertilisation, which could be essential for early embryogenesis and evolutionary outcomes in birds.

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