Phylogenetic timing of the fish-specific genome duplication correlates with the diversification of teleost fish

J Mol Evol. 2004 Aug;59(2):190-203. doi: 10.1007/s00239-004-2613-z.


For many genes, ray-finned fish (Actinopterygii) have two paralogous copies, where only one ortholog is present in tetrapods. The discovery of an additional, almost-complete set of Hox clusters in teleosts (zebrafish, pufferfish, medaka, and cichlid) but not in basal actinopterygian lineages ( Polypterus) led to the formulation of the fish-specific genome duplication hypothesis. The phylogenetic timing of this genome duplication during the evolution of ray-finned fish is unknown, since only a few species of basal fish lineages have been investigated so far. In this study, three nuclear genes ( fzd8, sox11, tyrosinase) were sequenced from sturgeons (Acipenseriformes), gars (Semionotiformes), bony tongues (Osteoglossomorpha), and a tenpounder (Elopomorpha). For these three genes, two copies have been described previously teleosts (e.g., zebrafish, pufferfish), but only one orthologous copy is found in tetrapods. Individual gene trees for these three genes and a concatenated dataset support the hypothesis that the fish-specific genome duplication event took place after the split of the Acipenseriformes and the Semionotiformes from the lineage leading to teleost fish but before the divergence of Osteoglossiformes. If these three genes were duplicated during the proposed fish-specific genome duplication event, then this event separates the species-poor early-branching lineages from the species-rich teleost lineage. The additional number of genes resulting from this event might have facilitated the evolutionary radiation and the phenotypic diversification of the teleost fish.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Fishes / genetics*
  • Gene Duplication*
  • Genome*
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny*
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA Primers
  • Proteins