Sequences and Evolution of Human and Squirrel Monkey Blue Opsin Genes
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The sequences of the entire blue opsin gene in the squirrel monkey (Saimiri boliviensis) and the five introns of the human blue opsin gene were obtained. Intron 3 of these genes contains an Alu sequence and intron 4 contains a partial mer13 sequence. A comparison of the squirrel monkey opsin sequence with published mammalian opsin sequences shows that features believed to be functionally critical are all conserved. However, the blue opsin has evolved twice as fast as rhodopsin and is only as conservative as the β globin, which has evolved at the average rate of mammalian proteins. Interestingly, the interhelical loops are, on average, actually more conservative than the transmembrane α helical regions. The introns of the blue opsin gene have evolved at the average rate of introns in primate genes.
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