Advanced search
Start date
Betweenand

Molecular evolution of HOX genes: are there convergent genetic patterns on the multiple origins of the snakelike phenotype in Tetrapoda?

Grant number: 19/21712-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2020
Effective date (End): June 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Animal Genetics
Principal researcher:Tiana Kohlsdorf
Grantee:Anieli Guirro Pereira
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/07650-6 - Ecology, evolution and development (Eco-Evo-Devo) in the Brazilian herpetofauna, AP.TEM

Abstract

Phenotypic patterns may have evolved independently in different lineages, being recognized as homoplasies. The multiple origins of snakelike morphologies in vertebrates exemplify such evolutionary trajectory. The snakelike phenotype is characterized mainly by elongated trunks associated with limbs that are either reduced or absent, being identified in different lineages of Lepidosauria and Lissamphibia. Among the developmental pathways involved in the establishment of such traits, the Hox gene family has been widely studied in several vertebrate groups, although it remains relegated in the context of multiple origins of the snakelike phenotype. The relatively conservation identified in coding sequences of Hox genes suggests that the origin of snakelike phenotypes may be associated with changes in the regulation of gene expression. However, the scarcity of genetic information available for several snakelike lineages limits our ability to test hypotheses of molecular convergence in Hox genes. The present proposal aims, firstly, to sequence the genome of two species of Amphisbaenia. Using the new data generated, the second objective is to identify coding sequences and regulatory regions at all genomes available for snakelike species, including the new Amphisbaenia genomes, and test hypotheses of molecular convergence. The Hox sequences compiled will be used to perform genetic convergence analysis, motif prediction, and selection regime tests. This groundbreaking project will significantly contribute to the Evo-Devo field by testing hypotheses of developmental convergence in independent origins of snakelike morphologies in Lissamphibia and Lepidosauria. (AU)