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Title: Pangolin genomes and the evolution of mammalian scalesand immunity
Authors: Choo, Siew W. 
Rayko, Mike 
Tan, Tze K. 
Hari, Ranjeev 
Komissarov, Aleksey 
Wee, Wei Y. 
Yurchenko, Andrey A. 
Kliver, Sergey 
Tamazian, Gaik 
Antunes, Agostinho 
Wilson, Richard K. 
Warren, Wesley C. 
Koepfli, Klaus-Peter 
Minx, Patrick 
Krasheninnikova, Ksenia 
Kotze, Antoinette 
Dalton, Desire L. 
Vermaak, Elaine 
Paterson, Ian C. 
Dobrynin, Pavel 
Sitam, Frankie T. 
Rovie-Ryan, Jeffrine J. 
Johnson, Warren E. 
Yusoff, Aini M. 
Luo, Shu-Jin 
Karuppannan, Kayal V. 
Fang, Gang 
Zheng, Deyou 
Gerstein, Mark B. 
Lipovich, Leonard 
O’Brien, Stephen J. 
Wong, Guat J. 
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Source: Choo, S. W., Rayko, M., Tan, T. K., Hari, R., Komissarov, A., Wee, W. Y., ... & Wilson, R. K. (2016). Pangolin genomes and the evolution of mammalian scales and immunity. Genome Research, 26(10), 1312-1322.
Journal: Genome Research 
Abstract: Pangolins, unique mammals with scales over most of their body, no teeth, poor vision, and an acute olfactory system, comprise the only placental order (Pholidota) without a whole-genome map. To investigate pangolin biology and evolution, we developed genome assemblies of the Malayan (Manis javanica) and Chinese (M. pentadactyla) pangolins. Strikingly, we found that interferon epsilon (IFNE), exclusively expressed in epithelial cells and important in skin and mucosal immunity, is pseudogenized in all African and Asian pangolin species that we examined, perhaps impacting resistance to infection. We propose that scale development was an innovation that provided protection against injuries or stress and reduced pangolin vulnerability to infection. Further evidence of specialized adaptations was evident from positively selected genes involving immunity-related pathways, inflammation, energy storage and metabolism, muscular and nervous systems, and scale/hair development. Olfactory receptor gene families are significantly expanded in pangolins, reflecting their well-developed olfaction system. This study provides insights into mammalian adaptation and functional diversification, new research tools and questions, and perhaps a new natural IFNE-deficient animal model for studying mammalian immunity.
DOI: 10.1101/gr.203521.115
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Publications

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