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Evolutionary rates of testes-expressed genes differ in monogamous and promiscuous Peromyscus species

By Landen Gozashti, Russell Corbett-Detig, Scott W Roy

Posted 21 Apr 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.21.440792

Reproductive proteins, including those expressed in the testes, are among the fastest evolving proteins across the tree of life. Sexual selection on traits involved in sperm competition is thought to be a primary driver of testes gene evolution and is expected to differ between promiscuous and monogamous species due to intense competition between males to fertilize females in promiscuous lineages and lack thereof in monogamous ones. Here, we employ the rodent genus Peromyscus as a model to explore differences in evolutionary rates between testes-expressed genes in monogamous and promiscuous species. We find candidate genes that may be associated with increased sperm production in promiscuous species and gene ontology categories that show patterns of molecular convergence associated with phenotypic convergence in independently evolved monogamous species. Overall, our results highlight the possible molecular consequences mating system, likely due to differences in selective pressures.

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