Minke whale genome and aquatic adaptation in cetaceans.

Nature genetics (2013-11-26)
Hyung-Soon Yim, Yun Sung Cho, Xuanmin Guang, Sung Gyun Kang, Jae-Yeon Jeong, Sun-Shin Cha, Hyun-Myung Oh, Jae-Hak Lee, Eun Chan Yang, Kae Kyoung Kwon, Yun Jae Kim, Tae Wan Kim, Wonduck Kim, Jeong Ho Jeon, Sang-Jin Kim, Dong Han Choi, Sungwoong Jho, Hak-Min Kim, Junsu Ko, Hyunmin Kim, Young-Ah Shin, Hyun-Ju Jung, Yuan Zheng, Zhuo Wang, Yan Chen, Ming Chen, Awei Jiang, Erli Li, Shu Zhang, Haolong Hou, Tae Hyung Kim, Lili Yu, Sha Liu, Kung Ahn, Jesse Cooper, Sin-Gi Park, Chang Pyo Hong, Wook Jin, Heui-Soo Kim, Chankyu Park, Kyooyeol Lee, Sung Chun, Phillip A Morin, Stephen J O'Brien, Hang Lee, Jumpei Kimura, Dae Yeon Moon, Andrea Manica, Jeremy Edwards, Byung Chul Kim, Sangsoo Kim, Jun Wang, Jong Bhak, Hyun Sook Lee, Jung-Hyun Lee

The shift from terrestrial to aquatic life by whales was a substantial evolutionary event. Here we report the whole-genome sequencing and de novo assembly of the minke whale genome, as well as the whole-genome sequences of three minke whales, a fin whale, a bottlenose dolphin and a finless porpoise. Our comparative genomic analysis identified an expansion in the whale lineage of gene families associated with stress-responsive proteins and anaerobic metabolism, whereas gene families related to body hair and sensory receptors were contracted. Our analysis also identified whale-specific mutations in genes encoding antioxidants and enzymes controlling blood pressure and salt concentration. Overall the whale-genome sequences exhibited distinct features that are associated with the physiological and morphological changes needed for life in an aquatic environment, marked by resistance to physiological stresses caused by a lack of oxygen, increased amounts of reactive oxygen species and high salt levels.

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