Changes in Neuropeptide Prohormone Genes among Cetartiodactyla Livestock and Wild Species Associated with Evolution and Domestication

Bruce R. Southey, Sandra L. Rodriguez-Zas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The impact of evolution and domestication processes on the sequences of neuropeptide prohormone genes that participate in cell–cell signaling influences multiple biological process that involve neuropeptide signaling. This information is important to understand the physiological differences between Cetartiodactyla domesticated species such as cow, pig, and llama and wild species such as hippopotamus, giraffes, and whales. Systematic analysis of changes associated with evolutionary and domestication forces in neuropeptide prohormone protein sequences that are processed into neu-ropeptides was undertaken. The genomes from 118 Cetartiodactyla genomes representing 22 families were mined for 98 neuropeptide prohormone genes. Compared to other Cetartiodactyla suborders, Ruminantia preserved PYY2 and lost RLN1. Changes in GNRH2, IAPP, INSL6, POMC, PRLH, and TAC4 protein sequences could result in the loss of some bioactive neuropeptides in some families. An evolutionary model suggested that most neuropeptide prohormone genes disfavor sequence changes that incorporate large and hydrophobic amino acids. A compelling finding was that differences between domestic and wild species are associated with the molecular system underlying ‘fight or flight’ responses. Overall, the results demonstrate the importance of simultaneously comparing the neuropeptide prohormone gene complement from close and distant-related species. These findings broaden the foundation for empirical studies about the function of the neuropeptidome associated with health, behavior, and food production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number247
JournalVeterinary Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • neuropeptide
  • evolution
  • Cetartiodactyla
  • domestication
  • prohormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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