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Opsin genes of select treeshrews resolve ancestral character states within Scandentia
Royal Society Open Science, Volume: 6, Issue: 4, Start page: 182037
Swansea University Author: Konstans Wells
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DOI (Published version): 10.1098/rsos.182037
Treeshrews are small, squirrel-like mammals in the order Scandentia, which is nested together with Primates andDermoptera in the superordinal group Euarchonta. They are often described as living fossils, and researchers havelong turned to treeshrews as a model or ecological analogue for ancestral pr...
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Treeshrews are small, squirrel-like mammals in the order Scandentia, which is nested together with Primates andDermoptera in the superordinal group Euarchonta. They are often described as living fossils, and researchers havelong turned to treeshrews as a model or ecological analogue for ancestral primates. A comparative study of colourvision-encoding genes within Scandentia found a derived amino acid substitution in the long-wavelength sensitiveopsin gene (OPN1LW) of the Bornean smooth-tailed treeshrew (Dendrogale melanura). The opsin, by inference, isred-shifted by ca. 6 nm with an inferred peak sensitivity of 561 nm. It is tempting to view this trait as a novel visualadaptation; however, the genetic and functional diversity of visual pigments in treeshrews is unresolved outside ofBorneo. Here we report gene sequences from the northern smooth-tailed treeshrew (Dendrogale murina) and theMindanao treeshrew (Tupaia everetti, the senior synonym of Urogale everetti). We found that the opsin genes areunder purifying selection and that D. murina shares the same substitution as its congener, a result that distinguishesDendrogale from other treeshrews, including T. everetti. We discuss the implications of opsin functional variation inlight of limited knowledge about the visual ecology of smooth-tailed treeshrews.
Dendrogale murina, northern smooth-tailed treeshrew, Tupaia everetti, Urogale, Mindanao treeshrew
Faculty of Science and Engineering
National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada,
The Canada Research Chairs program,
The Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute