Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Correlated evolution of sensory structures and sensory genes in mammals
An article by Garrett & Steiper just published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B looked at anatomical correlates of main olfactory system (ethmoid) and vemoronasal system (vemoronasal organ, VNO) across mammals as well as the size of the related gene families (OR, V1R, and V2R) in mammalian genomes. They found that absolute ethmoid area is correlated with the proportion of functional ORs and that the relative size and complexity of the VNO is correlated with proportion of functional V1R genes in mammalian genomes. These results show nice concordance between anatomical and molecular evolution and may indicate a role for natural selection in the evolution of these genes families.