Wednesday, February 16, 2005

95: Comparing gene expression in different eyes

Thanks to Tsjok45 for the tip.

Comparative Analysis of Gene Expression for Convergent Evolution of Camera Eye Between Octopus and Human -- Ogura et al. 14 (8): 1555 -- Genome Research

Although the camera eye of the octopus is very similar to that of humans, phylogenetic and embryological analyses have suggested that their camera eyes have been acquired independently. It has been known as a typical example of convergent evolution. To study the molecular basis of convergent evolution of camera eyes, we conducted a comparative analysis of gene expression in octopus and human camera eyes.

We found that 1019 out of the 1052 genes had already existed at the common ancestor of bilateria, and 875 genes were conserved between humans and octopuses. It suggests that a larger number of conserved genes and their similar gene expression may be responsible for the convergent evolution of the camera eye.
Evolution produces testable hypotheses about the functioning of the eye. Those hypotheses reveal more data about the evolution of bilaterians.