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Two Antarctic penguin genomes reveal insights into their evolutionary history and molecular changes related to the Antarctic environment
BGI Shenzhen, China Natl GeneBank, Shenzhen 518083, Peoples R China.;Univ Copenhagen, Nat Hist Museum Denmark, Ctr GeoGenet, DK-1350 Copenhagen, Denmark..ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7843-2151
BGI Shenzhen, China Natl GeneBank, Shenzhen 518083, Peoples R China..
BGI Shenzhen, China Natl GeneBank, Shenzhen 518083, Peoples R China..
Univ Oxford, Dept Physiol Anat & Genet, MRC Funct Genom Unit, Oxford OX1 3QX, England..ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9225-3421
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2014 (English)In: GigaScience, ISSN 2047-217X, E-ISSN 2047-217X, GIGASCIENCE, Vol. 3, 27Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Penguins are flightless aquatic birds widely distributed in the Southern Hemisphere. The distinctive morphological and physiological features of penguins allow them to live an aquatic life, and some of them have successfully adapted to the hostile environments in Antarctica. To study the phylogenetic and population history of penguins and the molecular basis of their adaptations to Antarctica, we sequenced the genomes of the two Antarctic dwelling penguin species, the Adelie penguin [Pygoscelis adeliae] and emperor penguin [Aptenodytes forsteri]. Results: Phylogenetic dating suggests that early penguins arose similar to 60 million years ago, coinciding with a period of global warming. Analysis of effective population sizes reveals that the two penguin species experienced population expansions from similar to 1 million years ago to similar to 100 thousand years ago, but responded differently to the climatic cooling of the last glacial period. Comparative genomic analyses with other available avian genomes identified molecular changes in genes related to epidermal structure, phototransduction, lipid metabolism, and forelimb morphology. Conclusions: Our sequencing and initial analyses of the first two penguin genomes provide insights into the timing of penguin origin, fluctuations in effective population sizes of the two penguin species over the past 10 million years, and the potential associations between these biological patterns and global climate change. The molecular changes compared with other avian genomes reflect both shared and diverse adaptations of the two penguin species to the Antarctic environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 3, 27
Keyword [en]
Penguins, Avian genomics, Evolution, Adaptation, Antarctica
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-306311DOI: 10.1186/2047-217X-3-27ISI: 000365658300001PubMedID: 25671092OAI: diva2:1049512
Available from: 2016-11-24 Created: 2016-10-27 Last updated: 2016-11-24Bibliographically approved

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Li, CaiKong, LeshengHu, HaofuLi, QiyePollock, David D.Nam, KiwoongEllegren, HHo, Simon Y. W.Ponting, Chris P.Wang, JunZhang, Guojie
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