Tuesday, March 27, 2012
This article, which came out today, is a follow-up on work done on the pseudogenization of the Tas1r2 gene in felines. The authors expanded their study to 12 other species in the order Carnivora. The pseudogenization of Tas1r2 gene, which codes for the Tas1r2 receptor, causes organisms to lose the ability to taste sweet compounds. Seven out of the 12 species studies had also independently pseudogenized this gene. All seven of these species are also strict carnivores, including species as diverse as sea lions and otters. The authors conclude that this loss in taste receptor function is an adaptive response to feeding behavior.