Comparative genomics reveals insights into avian genome evolution and adaptation

Guojie Zhang, Cai Li, Qiye Li, Bo Li, Denis M Larkin, Chul Lee, Jay F Storz, Agostinho Antunes, Matthew J Greenwold, Robert W Meredith, Anders Ödeen, Jie Cui, Qi Zhou, Luohao Xu, Hailin Pan, Zongji Wang, Lijun Jin, Pei Zhang, Haofu Hu, Wei YangJiang Hu, Jin Xiao, Zhikai Yang, Yang Liu, Qiaolin Xie, Hao Yu, Jinmin Lian, Ping Wen, Fang Zhang, Hui Li, Yongli Zeng, Zijun Xiong, Shiping Liu, Long Zhou, Zhiyong Huang, Na An, Jie Wang, Qiumei Zheng, Yingqi Xiong, Guangbiao Wang, Bo Wang, Jingjing Wang, Yu Fan, Rute R da Fonseca, Alonzo Alfaro-Núñez, Mikkel Schubert, Ludovic Orlando, Tobias Mourier, David W Burt, Avian Genome Consortium, Jacqueline Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Birds are the most species-rich class of tetrapod vertebrates and have wide relevance across many research fields. We explored bird macroevolution using full genomes from 48 avian species representing all major extant clades. The avian genome is principally characterized by its constrained size, which predominantly arose because of lineage-specific erosion of repetitive elements, large segmental deletions, and gene loss. Avian genomes furthermore show a remarkably high degree of evolutionary stasis at the levels of nucleotide sequence, gene synteny, and chromosomal structure. Despite this pattern of conservation, we detected many non-neutral evolutionary changes in protein-coding genes and noncoding regions. These analyses reveal that pan-avian genomic diversity covaries with adaptations to different lifestyles and convergent evolution of traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1311-20
Number of pages10
Issue number6215
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Biodiversity
  • Biological Evolution
  • Birds
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Diet
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Female
  • Flight, Animal
  • Genes
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome
  • Genomics
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Phylogeny
  • Reproduction
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Synteny
  • Vision, Ocular
  • Vocalization, Animal


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