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  current news   Press   selected story    
     
  15 December 2016  
 
The seahorse genome and the evolution of its specialized morphology
 
 




Authors
Qiang Lin1*, Shaohua Fan2*, Yanhong Zhang1*, Meng Xu3*, Huixian Zhang1,4*,Yulan Yang3*, Alison P. Lee4, Joost M. Woltering2, Vydianathan Ravi4, Helen M. Gunter2, Wei Luo1, Zexia Gao5, Zhi Wei Lim4, Geng Qin1, Ralf F. Schneider2, Xin Wang1, Peiwen Xiong2, Gang Li1, Kai Wang6, Jiumeng Min3, Chi Zhang3, Ying Qiu7, Jie Bai7, Weiming He3, Chao Bian7, Xinhui Zhang7, Dai Shan3, Hongyue Qu1, Ying Sun7, Qiang Gao3, Liangmin Huang1, Qiong Shi1,7§, Axel Meyer & Byrappa Venkatesh4,8§

1  CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Marine Bio-resources and Ecology, South China Sea Institute of    Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510301, China.
2  Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz 78457, Germany.
3  BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China.
4  Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*STAR, Biopolis, Singapore 138673.
5  College of Fisheries, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China.
6  School of Agriculture, Ludong University, Yantai 264025, China.
7  Shenzhen Key Lab of Marine Genomics, Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Molecular Breeding in Marine    Economic Animals, BGI, Shenzhen 518083, China.
8  Department of Paediatrics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore,    Singapore 119228.

*Joint first authors
§Corresponding authors

Published in Nature on 15 December 2016.

You can access the paper on the journal’s website at:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v540/n7633/full/nature20595.html



Abstract
Seahorses have a specialized morphology that includes a toothless tubular mouth, a body covered with bony plates, a male brood pouch, and the absence of caudal and pelvic fins. Here we report the sequencing and de novo assembly of the genome of the tiger tail seahorse, Hippocampus comes. Comparative genomic analysis identifies higher protein and nucleotide evolutionary rates in H. comes compared with other teleost fish genomes. We identified an astacin metalloprotease gene family that has undergone expansion and is highly expressed in the male brood pouch. We also find that the H. comes genome lacks enamel matrix protein-coding proline/glutamine-rich secretory calcium-binding phosphoprotein genes, which might have led to the loss of mineralized teeth. tbx4, a regulator of hindlimb development, is also not found in H. comes genome. Knockout of tbx4 in zebrafish showed a ‘pelvic fin-loss’ phenotype similar to that of seahorses.



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