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Using comparative genomics to understand convergent evolution of mammals: tracking the molecular footprints of the marine and riverine environment colonisation

Grant number: 15/18269-1
Support type:Research Grants - Young Investigators Grants
Duration: November 01, 2016 - October 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Animal Genetics
Principal Investigator:Mariana Freitas Nery
Grantee:Mariana Freitas Nery
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Andrew David Foote ; Juan Opazo ; Juan Pablo Torres Flores ; Tomas Hrbek
Associated scholarship(s):18/21672-0 - When being obsese is healthy: molecular evolution of genes related to metabolism in aquatic mammals and hibernating mammals, BP.IC
18/08564-4 - Molecular evolution of echolocation genes in freshwater and marine cetaceans, BP.IC
17/14831-2 - Molecular evolution of immune systema genes in aquatic mammals: identifying molecular footprints of the colonization of new environment, BP.MS


The availability of whole genome sequences is opening new opportunities to make progress in our understanding of the genomic bases of phenotypic diversity. It also allows non-model organisms to emerge as groups with great potential to answer questions regarding the nature of the evolutionary process. Among non-model organisms, aquatic mammals are particularly special because of the radical transformations in almost all systems during their evolutionary histories and also because of the remarkable phenotypic convergence of mammalian lineages that independently recolonized the aquatic environment. In this context, this proposal seeks to study molecular evolution of the following species: Sotalia guianensis and Pontoporia blainvillei, two marine dolphins; Sotalia fluviatilis and Inia geoffrensis, two river dolphins; and Trichechus manatus and Trichechus inunguis, a marine manatee and a riverine manatee, respectively. Using a comparative genomics approach, the whole genomes of these species will be sequenced and analyzed following two main different strategies: 1) comparison of the genomes of sister species that diverged from each other in a relatively recent time (S. guianensis x S. fluviatilis, T. manatus x T. inunguis) and in a relatively long time (I. geoffrensis x P. blainvillei); and 2) comparison of the genomes of independent lineages that occupy the same habitat (marine or riverine), to investigate whether common molecular mechanisms are responsible for convergent phenotypes. (AU)

Scientific publications (5)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
MARIZ, V, JOAO PEDRO; NERY, MARIANA F. Unraveling the Molecular Evolution of Blood Coagulation Genes in Fishes and Cetaceans. FRONTIERS IN MARINE SCIENCE, v. 7, NOV 27 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
DA SILVA RAMOS, ELISA KAREN; FREITAS, LUCAS; NERY, MARIANA F. The role of selection in the evolution of marine turtles mitogenomes. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, v. 10, n. 1 OCT 12 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
FREITAS, LUCAS; NERY, MARIANA F. Expansions and contractions in gene families of independently-evolved blood-feeding insects. BMC Evolutionary Biology, v. 20, n. 1 JUL 17 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
ANDREANI, MARIA LUIZA; NERY, MARIANA F. Latitudinal diversity gradient and cetaceans from the perspective of MHC genes. IMMUNOGENETICS, v. 72, n. 6-7 JUN 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
DIAS, BRUNA C.; NERY, MARIANA F. Analyses of RAG1 and RAG2 genes suggest different evolutionary rates in the Cetacea lineage. Molecular Immunology, v. 117, p. 131-138, JAN 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.

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