Evolution of Mammalian Pancreatic Ribonucleases

  • Jaap J. Beintema
  • Johannes A. Lenstra
Part of the Monographs in Evolutionary Biology book series (MEBI)


Pancreatic ribonucleases form a group of homologous proteins found in considerable quantities in the pancreas of a number of mammalian taxa and a few reptiles (Barnard, 1969; Beintema et al.,1973). The ribonuclease activity varies greatly in different species. Large quantities are found in ruminants and species that have a ruminant-like digestion, and in a number of species with cecal digestion (Fig. 1). Barnard (1969) proposed that an elevated level of pancreatic ribonuclease is the response to the necessity of digesting large amounts of ribonucleic acid derived from the microflora of the stomach of ruminants. This explanation agrees with the observation of Dobson and Wilson (1980) that the level of stomach lysozyme is also elevated in several ruminants and species that have a ruminant-like digestion.


Parsimonious Tree Fallow Deer Whalebone Whale Pancreatic Ribonuclease River Buffalo 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaap J. Beintema
    • 1
  • Johannes A. Lenstra
    • 1
  1. 1.Biochemisch LaboratoriumGroningenThe Netherlands

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