Differential expression of duplicated opsin genes in two eyetypes of ostracod crustaceans

J Mol Evol. 2004 Aug;59(2):239-49. doi: 10.1007/s00239-004-2618-7.


In the first molecular study of ostracod (Crustacea) vision, we present partial cDNA sequences of ostracod visual pigment genes (opsins). We found strong support for differential expression of opsins in ostracod median and compound eyes and suggest that photoreceptor specific expression may be a general phenomenon in organisms with multiple receptors. We infer that eye-specific expression predates the divergence of the two species examined, Skogsbergia lerneri and Vargula hilgendorfii, because eye-specific opsin orthologs are present in both species. We found multiple opsin loci in ostracods, estimating that at least eight are present in Skogsbergia lerneri. All opsins from both ostracod species examined are more closely related to each other than to any other known opsin sequences. Because we find no evidence for gene conversion or alternative splicing, we suggest the occurrence of many recent gene duplications. Why ostracods may have retained multiple recent opsin gene duplicates is unknown, but we discuss several possible hypotheses.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Belize
  • Crustacea / genetics*
  • DNA Primers
  • Eye / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression*
  • Genes, Duplicate / genetics*
  • Japan
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny*
  • Rod Opsins / genetics*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Species Specificity


  • DNA Primers
  • Rod Opsins