Evolution of developmental regulation in the vertebrate FgfD subfamily

Richard Jovelin, Yi Lin Yan, Xinjun He, Julian Catchen, Angel Amores, Cristian Canestro, Hayato Yokoi, John H. Postlethwait

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fibroblast growth factors (Fgfs)encode small signaling proteins that help regulate embryo patterning. Fgfs fall into seven families, including FgfD. Nonvertebrate chordates have a single FgfD gene; mammals have three (Fgf8, Fgf17, and Fgf18); and teleosts have six (fgf8a, fgf8b, fgf17, fgf18a, fgf18b, and fgf24). What are the evolutionary processes that led to the structural duplication and functional diversification of FgfD genes during vertebrate phylogeny? To study this question, we investigated conserved syntenies, patterns of gene expression, and the distribution of conserved noncoding elements (CNEs) in FgfD genes of stickleback and zebrafish, and compared them with data from cephalochordates, urochordates, and mammals. Genomic analysis suggests that Fgf8, Fgf17, Fgf18, and Fgf24 arose in two rounds of whole genome duplication at the base of the vertebrate radiation; that fgf8 and fgf18 duplications occurred at the base of the teleost radiation; and that Fgf24 is an ohnolog that was lost in the mammalian lineage. Expression analysis suggests that ancestral subfunctions partitioned between gene duplicates and points to the evolution of novel expression domains. Analysis of CNEs, at least some of which are candidate regulatory elements, suggests that ancestral CNEs partitioned between gene duplicates. These results help explain the evolutionary pathways by which the developmentally important family of FgfD molecules arose and the deduced principles that guided FgfD evolution are likely applicable to the evolution of developmental regulation in many vertebrate multigene families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-56
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution
Issue number1 B
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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