Rod Monochromacy and the Coevolution of Cetacean Retinal Opsins

Robert Meredith, John Gatesy, Christopher A. Emerling, Vincent M. York, Mark S. Springer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cetaceans have a long history of commitment to a fully aquatic lifestyle that extends back to the Eocene. Extant species have evolved a spectacular array of adaptations in conjunction with their deployment into a diverse array of aquatic habitats. Sensory systems are among those that have experienced radical transformations in the evolutionary history of this clade. In the case of vision, previous studies have demonstrated important changes in the genes encoding rod opsin (RH1), short-wavelength sensitive opsin 1 (SWS1), and long-wavelength sensitive opsin (LWS) in selected cetaceans, but have not examined the full complement of opsin genes across the complete range of cetacean families. Here, we report protein-coding sequences for RH1 and both color opsin genes (SWS1, LWS) from representatives of all extant cetacean families. We examine competing hypotheses pertaining to the timing of blue shifts in RH1 relative to SWS1 inactivation in the early history of Cetacea, and we test the hypothesis that some cetaceans are rod monochomats. Molecular evolutionary analyses contradict the "coastal" hypothesis, wherein SWS1 was pseudogenized in the common ancestor of Cetacea, and instead suggest that RH1 was blue-shifted in the common ancestor of Cetacea before SWS1 was independently knocked out in baleen whales (Mysticeti) and in toothed whales (Odontoceti). Further, molecular evidence implies that LWS was inactivated convergently on at least five occasions in Cetacea: (1) Balaenidae (bowhead and right whales), (2) Balaenopteroidea (rorquals plus gray whale), (3) Mesoplodon bidens (Sowerby's beaked whale), (4) Physeter macrocephalus (giant sperm whale), and (5) Kogia breviceps (pygmy sperm whale). All of these cetaceans are known to dive to depths of at least 100 m where the underwater light field is dim and dominated by blue light. The knockout of both SWS1 and LWS in multiple cetacean lineages renders these taxa rod monochromats, a condition previously unknown among mammalian species.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1003432
JournalPLoS Genetics
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2013

Fingerprint

Whales
Opsins
rods (retina)
opsin
cetacean
Cetacea
coevolution
whale
wavelength
wavelengths
Sperm Whale
Bowhead Whale
Rod Opsins
Bidens
History
whales
Genes
Light
common ancestry
sperm

Cite this

Meredith, R., Gatesy, J., Emerling, C. A., York, V. M., & Springer, M. S. (2013). Rod Monochromacy and the Coevolution of Cetacean Retinal Opsins. PLoS Genetics, 9(4), [e1003432]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1003432
Meredith, Robert ; Gatesy, John ; Emerling, Christopher A. ; York, Vincent M. ; Springer, Mark S. / Rod Monochromacy and the Coevolution of Cetacean Retinal Opsins. In: PLoS Genetics. 2013 ; Vol. 9, No. 4.
@article{5ff2dd1bb1a34b4287a8e56dd2293f2e,
title = "Rod Monochromacy and the Coevolution of Cetacean Retinal Opsins",
abstract = "Cetaceans have a long history of commitment to a fully aquatic lifestyle that extends back to the Eocene. Extant species have evolved a spectacular array of adaptations in conjunction with their deployment into a diverse array of aquatic habitats. Sensory systems are among those that have experienced radical transformations in the evolutionary history of this clade. In the case of vision, previous studies have demonstrated important changes in the genes encoding rod opsin (RH1), short-wavelength sensitive opsin 1 (SWS1), and long-wavelength sensitive opsin (LWS) in selected cetaceans, but have not examined the full complement of opsin genes across the complete range of cetacean families. Here, we report protein-coding sequences for RH1 and both color opsin genes (SWS1, LWS) from representatives of all extant cetacean families. We examine competing hypotheses pertaining to the timing of blue shifts in RH1 relative to SWS1 inactivation in the early history of Cetacea, and we test the hypothesis that some cetaceans are rod monochomats. Molecular evolutionary analyses contradict the {"}coastal{"} hypothesis, wherein SWS1 was pseudogenized in the common ancestor of Cetacea, and instead suggest that RH1 was blue-shifted in the common ancestor of Cetacea before SWS1 was independently knocked out in baleen whales (Mysticeti) and in toothed whales (Odontoceti). Further, molecular evidence implies that LWS was inactivated convergently on at least five occasions in Cetacea: (1) Balaenidae (bowhead and right whales), (2) Balaenopteroidea (rorquals plus gray whale), (3) Mesoplodon bidens (Sowerby's beaked whale), (4) Physeter macrocephalus (giant sperm whale), and (5) Kogia breviceps (pygmy sperm whale). All of these cetaceans are known to dive to depths of at least 100 m where the underwater light field is dim and dominated by blue light. The knockout of both SWS1 and LWS in multiple cetacean lineages renders these taxa rod monochromats, a condition previously unknown among mammalian species.",
author = "Robert Meredith and John Gatesy and Emerling, {Christopher A.} and York, {Vincent M.} and Springer, {Mark S.}",
year = "2013",
month = "4",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pgen.1003432",
language = "English",
volume = "9",
journal = "PLoS Genetics",
issn = "1553-7390",
publisher = "Public Library of Science",
number = "4",

}

Meredith, R, Gatesy, J, Emerling, CA, York, VM & Springer, MS 2013, 'Rod Monochromacy and the Coevolution of Cetacean Retinal Opsins', PLoS Genetics, vol. 9, no. 4, e1003432. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1003432

Rod Monochromacy and the Coevolution of Cetacean Retinal Opsins. / Meredith, Robert; Gatesy, John; Emerling, Christopher A.; York, Vincent M.; Springer, Mark S.

In: PLoS Genetics, Vol. 9, No. 4, e1003432, 01.04.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Rod Monochromacy and the Coevolution of Cetacean Retinal Opsins

AU - Meredith, Robert

AU - Gatesy, John

AU - Emerling, Christopher A.

AU - York, Vincent M.

AU - Springer, Mark S.

PY - 2013/4/1

Y1 - 2013/4/1

N2 - Cetaceans have a long history of commitment to a fully aquatic lifestyle that extends back to the Eocene. Extant species have evolved a spectacular array of adaptations in conjunction with their deployment into a diverse array of aquatic habitats. Sensory systems are among those that have experienced radical transformations in the evolutionary history of this clade. In the case of vision, previous studies have demonstrated important changes in the genes encoding rod opsin (RH1), short-wavelength sensitive opsin 1 (SWS1), and long-wavelength sensitive opsin (LWS) in selected cetaceans, but have not examined the full complement of opsin genes across the complete range of cetacean families. Here, we report protein-coding sequences for RH1 and both color opsin genes (SWS1, LWS) from representatives of all extant cetacean families. We examine competing hypotheses pertaining to the timing of blue shifts in RH1 relative to SWS1 inactivation in the early history of Cetacea, and we test the hypothesis that some cetaceans are rod monochomats. Molecular evolutionary analyses contradict the "coastal" hypothesis, wherein SWS1 was pseudogenized in the common ancestor of Cetacea, and instead suggest that RH1 was blue-shifted in the common ancestor of Cetacea before SWS1 was independently knocked out in baleen whales (Mysticeti) and in toothed whales (Odontoceti). Further, molecular evidence implies that LWS was inactivated convergently on at least five occasions in Cetacea: (1) Balaenidae (bowhead and right whales), (2) Balaenopteroidea (rorquals plus gray whale), (3) Mesoplodon bidens (Sowerby's beaked whale), (4) Physeter macrocephalus (giant sperm whale), and (5) Kogia breviceps (pygmy sperm whale). All of these cetaceans are known to dive to depths of at least 100 m where the underwater light field is dim and dominated by blue light. The knockout of both SWS1 and LWS in multiple cetacean lineages renders these taxa rod monochromats, a condition previously unknown among mammalian species.

AB - Cetaceans have a long history of commitment to a fully aquatic lifestyle that extends back to the Eocene. Extant species have evolved a spectacular array of adaptations in conjunction with their deployment into a diverse array of aquatic habitats. Sensory systems are among those that have experienced radical transformations in the evolutionary history of this clade. In the case of vision, previous studies have demonstrated important changes in the genes encoding rod opsin (RH1), short-wavelength sensitive opsin 1 (SWS1), and long-wavelength sensitive opsin (LWS) in selected cetaceans, but have not examined the full complement of opsin genes across the complete range of cetacean families. Here, we report protein-coding sequences for RH1 and both color opsin genes (SWS1, LWS) from representatives of all extant cetacean families. We examine competing hypotheses pertaining to the timing of blue shifts in RH1 relative to SWS1 inactivation in the early history of Cetacea, and we test the hypothesis that some cetaceans are rod monochomats. Molecular evolutionary analyses contradict the "coastal" hypothesis, wherein SWS1 was pseudogenized in the common ancestor of Cetacea, and instead suggest that RH1 was blue-shifted in the common ancestor of Cetacea before SWS1 was independently knocked out in baleen whales (Mysticeti) and in toothed whales (Odontoceti). Further, molecular evidence implies that LWS was inactivated convergently on at least five occasions in Cetacea: (1) Balaenidae (bowhead and right whales), (2) Balaenopteroidea (rorquals plus gray whale), (3) Mesoplodon bidens (Sowerby's beaked whale), (4) Physeter macrocephalus (giant sperm whale), and (5) Kogia breviceps (pygmy sperm whale). All of these cetaceans are known to dive to depths of at least 100 m where the underwater light field is dim and dominated by blue light. The knockout of both SWS1 and LWS in multiple cetacean lineages renders these taxa rod monochromats, a condition previously unknown among mammalian species.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84876864107&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003432

DO - 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003432

M3 - Article

VL - 9

JO - PLoS Genetics

JF - PLoS Genetics

SN - 1553-7390

IS - 4

M1 - e1003432

ER -