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10 Achievements of the Year

Evolution of digestive enzymes and RNASE1 genes reveals the conversionmechanism of cetacean’sfeeding habits

Author: Guang Yang

Organization:School of Life Sciences

The form of the achievement: paper

Introduction: Under the support of the National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars and the National Major Research and Development Planning Project of China, the research group found the protease and lipase genes apparently affected by the positive selection based on the evolutionary genetics and bioinformatics analysis of the digestive enzyme gene and RNASE1 gene, which coincides with the strengthening of Cetaceans’digestion ability on fat and protein. In addition, comparing to the herbivorous terrestrial artiodactyla, only onegene copy of the RNASE1 is retained, whereas the copies of the RNASE1 gene associated with the digestive plants are lost in the Cetaceans.This is the first time that this study has systematically revealed the

key molecular mechanism of cetacean’s feeding habits transformation which not only provides important evidence on the evolution of of cetaceans’feeding habits for cetaceans’ aquatic adaptionbut also new information for the revelation of the significant science question——the evolution of digestive enzymes in mammals. This achievement was published in Molecular Biology and Evolution (IF = 13. 002, 5 years IF = 13.649),the top journal in the field of international evolutionary biology in 2016 which has a great impactin China’s evolutionary biology academic circle.