Distinct Evolutionary Patterns Between Two Duplicated Color Vision Genes Within Cyprinid Fishes



We investigated the molecular evolution of duplicated color vision genes (LWS-1 and SWS2) within cyprinid fish, focusing on the most cavefish-rich genus—Sinocyclocheilus. Maximum likelihood-based codon substitution approaches were used to analyze the evolution of vision genes. We found that the duplicated color vision genes had unequal evolutionary rates, which may lead to a related function divergence. Divergence of LWS-1 was strongly influenced by positive selection causing an accelerated rate of substitution in the proportion of pocket-forming residues. The SWS2 pigment experienced divergent selection between lineages, and no positively selected site was found. A duplicate copy of LWS-1 of some cyprinine species had become a pseudogene, but all SWS2 sequences remained intact in the regions examined in the cyprinid fishes examined in this study. The pseudogenization events did not occur randomly in the two copies of LWS-1 within Sinocyclocheilus species. Some cave species of Sinocyclocheilus with numerous morphological specializations that seem to be highly adapted for caves, retain both intact copies of color vision genes in their genome. We found some novel amino acid substitutions at key sites, which might represent interesting target sites for future mutagenesis experiments. Our data add to the increasing evidence that duplicate genes experience lower selective constraints and in some cases positive selection following gene duplication. Some of these observations are unexpected and may provide insights into the effect of caves on the evolution of color vision genes in fishes.


Genome duplication Color vision gene Positive selection Cyprinid fish Cavefish Sinocyclocheilus 



The authors would like to thank the members of He’s lab for their assistance. Zuogang Peng and Simon Y. W. Ho are gratefully acknowledged for critically reading this manuscript. We sincerely thank the two anonymous referees and the Associate Editor for their insightful comments on the earlier versions of this manuscript. This research has been supported by the grants from National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) 2007CB411600 and 30530120 to S. H.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Aquatic Biodiversity and Conservation, Institute of HydrobiologyChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Graduate School of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Wuhan Institute of VirologyChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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