Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 311–316

Functional aspects of hemoglobin evolution in the mammals

  • A. F. Scott
  • H. F. Bunn
  • A. H. Brush

DOI: 10.1007/BF01739256

Cite this article as:
Scott, A.F., Bunn, H.F. & Brush, A.H. J Mol Evol (1976) 8: 311. doi:10.1007/BF01739256


Comparative studies of red cell 2,3 Diphosphoglycerate (DPG) and its effect on hemoglobin oxygen affinity from a taxonomically diverse set of mammals indicate two anomalous groups: members of the superfamilies Bovoidea (Actiodactyla) and Feloidea (Carnivora). In both taxa all of the individuals assayed had very low or unmeasurable quantities of DPG and red cell lysates with little, if any, DPG effect as measured by the change in oxygen affinity in the absence and presence of the phosphate. However, in both groups compensatory changes have occurred in hemoglobin structure and function so as to reduce the native oxygen affinity and thus cause them to resemble the hemoglobins of DPG-utilizing mammals as they occur in the setting of the red cell. We conclude that this parallelism of function is the result of convergent evolution.

Key words

Hemoglobin 2,3 Diphosphoglycerate (DPG) Mammals Molecular Evolution 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. F. Scott
    • 1
  • H. F. Bunn
    • 2
  • A. H. Brush
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Medical Genetics, Department of MedicineThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Hematology Division, Department of MedicinePeter Bent Brigham HospitalBostonUSA
  3. 3.Biological Sciences Group U-42University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA