Biochemical paedomorphosis and genetic assimilation in the hypoxia adaptation of Tibetan antelope [article]

Jay F Storz, Anthony V Signore
2020 bioRxiv   pre-print
Developmental shifts in stage-specific gene expression can provide a ready mechanism of phenotypic change by altering the rate or timing of ontogenetic events. We discovered that the high-altitude Tibetan antelope (Panthelops hodgsonii) has evolved an adaptive increase in blood-oxygen affinity by truncating the ancestral ontogeny of globin gene expression such that a high-affinity juvenile hemoglobin isoform (isoHb) completely supplants the lower-affinity isoHb that is expressed in the adult
more » ... sed in the adult red blood cells of other bovids. This juvenilization of blood properties represents a canalization of an acclimatization response to hypoxia that has been well-documented in adult goats and sheep. We also discovered the genomic mechanism underlying this regulatory isoHb switch, revealing how a reversible acclimatization response became genetically assimilated as an irreversible adaptation to chronic hypoxia.
doi:10.1101/2020.03.20.000075 fatcat:v7wvui4kbrerdj2fthaxeqy74u