Evolution of non-visual opsin genes across life history transitions in frogs

January 3 – Febuary 28, 2021

Meeting Abstract

BSP-10-3  Sun Jan 3 17:00 – 17:15  Evolution of non-visual opsin genes across life history transitions in frogs Boyette, JL*; Bell, RC; Fujita, MK; Thomas, KN; Streicher, JW; Gower, DJ; Schott, RK; Berry College, Rome GA; California Academy of Sciences, San Fransisco; University of Texas, Arlington; Natural History Museum, London; Natural History Museum, London; Natural History Museum, London; National Museum of Natural History, Wahington, DC jack.boyette@vikings.berry.edu http://www.johnlboyette.com/

Non-visual opsins are light-sensitive proteins expressed in the eyes, skin, and brain of many animals and are involved in various non-visual light detection functions, including circadian rhythm regulation, melatonin release, and pupillary responses. Previous research has primarily explored the function of non-visual opsins, with few studies investigating their molecular evolution. This project explored molecular evolution of non-visual opsin genes in frogs. From burrowing to aquatic and arboreal lifestyles, frogs inhabit a diverse array of light environments, which makes them a compelling system for studying the evolution of light detection mechanisms. Using whole eye transcriptomes from 84 frog species, and whole genome data from 16 species, we set out to 1) identify which non-visual opsin genes are expressed in the eyes of frogs; 2) compare selective pressure (dN/dS) among non-visual opsin genes; and 3) test for potential adaptive evolution by comparing selection between discrete ecological and life history classes (e.g. nocturnal vs. diurnal). We consistently recovered 12 non-visual opsin genes from frog eye transcriptomes, compared to 18 genes that we recovered genome-wide. Positive selection was detected in a subset of these genes. We also found variation in selective constraint between discrete ecological and life history classes, which may reflect functional adaptation in frog non-visual opsin genes. Although non-visual opsins remain poorly understood, these findings provide insight into their molecular evolution and potential function across frog diversity.

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