Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 88, Issue 2, pp 169–188 | Cite as

Teleost fish with specific genome duplication as unique models of vertebrate evolution



Whole-genome duplication (WGD) is believed to be one of the major evolutionary events that shaped the genome organization of vertebrates. Here, we review recent research on vertebrate genome evolution, specifically on WGD and its consequences for gene and genome evolution in teleost fishes. Recent genome analyses confirmed that all vertebrates experienced two rounds of WGD early in their evolution, and that teleosts experienced a subsequent additional third-round (3R)-WGD. The 3R-WGD was estimated to have occurred 320–400 million years ago in a teleost ancestor, but after its divergence from a common ancestor with living non-teleost actinopterygians (Bichir, Sturgeon, Bowfin, and Gar) based on the analyses of teleost-specific duplicate genes. This 3R-WGD was confirmed by synteny analysis and ancestral karyotype inference using the genome sequences of Tetraodon and medaka. Most of the tetrapods, on the other hand, have not experienced an additional WGD; however, they have experienced repeated chromosomal rearrangements throughout the whole genome. Therefore, different types of chromosomal events have characterized the genomes of teleosts and tetrapods, respectively. The 3R-WGD is useful to investigate the consequences of WGD because it is an evolutionarily recent WGD and thus teleost genomes retain many more WGD-derived duplicates and “traces” of their evolution. In addition, the remarkable morphological, physiological, and ecological diversity of teleosts may facilitate understanding of macrophenotypic evolution on the basis of genetic/genomic information. We highlight the teleosts with 3R-WGD as unique models for future studies on ecology and evolution taking advantage of emerging genomics technologies and systems biology environments.


3R-WGD Gene duplication Ancestral karyotype Chromosomal evolution Teleost diversity 



The manuscript benefited from the comments of two anonymous reviewers. We thank our colleagues at the Ocean Research Institute and the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences of the University of Tokyo, and the National Institute of Genetics for helpful discussions and comments. This work was partially supported by Grants-in-Aid from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to MN.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Molecular Marine Biology, Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Division of Population GeneticsNational Institute of GeneticsMishimaJapan

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