c-Myc plays an important role during embryogenesis in mammals, but little is known about its function during embryonic development in teleosts. In addition, the evolutionary history of c-myc gene in teleosts remains unclear, and depending on the species, a variable number of gene duplicates exist in teleosts. To gain new insight into c-myc genes in teleosts, the present study was designed to clarify the evolutionary history of c-myc gene(s) in teleosts and to subsequently characterize DNA methylation and early embryonic expression patterns in a cyprinid fish. Our results show that a duplication of c-myc gene occurred before or around the teleost radiation, as a result of the teleost-specific whole genome duplication giving rise to c-myca and c-mycb in teleosts and was followed by a loss of the c-mycb gene in the Gasterosteiforms and Tetraodontiforms. Our data also demonstrate that both c-myc genes previously identified in carp and goldfish are co-orthologs of the zebrafish c-myca. These results indicate the presence of additional c-myca duplication in Cyprininae. We were able to identify differences between the expression patterns of the two goldfish c-myca genes in oocytes and early embryos. These differences suggest a partial sub-functionalization of c-myca genes after duplication. Despite differences in transcription patterns, both of the c-myca genes displayed similar DNA methylation patterns during early development and in gametes. Together, our results clarify the evolutionary history of the c-myc gene in teleosts and provide new insight into the involvement of c-myc in early embryonic development in cyprinids.
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