Natural selection promotes divergence of transferrin among salmonid species

Authors

  • Michael J. Ford,

    1. National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Conservation Biology Division, 2725 Montlake Blvd. E., Seattle, WA 98112, USA
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  • Perry J. Thornton,

    1. National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Conservation Biology Division, 2725 Montlake Blvd. E., Seattle, WA 98112, USA
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  • Linda K. Park

    1. National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Conservation Biology Division, 2725 Montlake Blvd. E., Seattle, WA 98112, USA
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Abstract

Transferrin is an iron-binding protein that plays an important role in iron metabolism and resistance to bacterial infection in a variety of organisms. A comparison of transferrin coding sequences from four salmonid species shows that the rate of evolution at nonsynonymous sites is significantly higher than the rate at synonymous sites, suggesting that positive natural selection for new alleles has played an important role in the evolution of transferrin in some salmon species. We hypothesize that the selective agent driving rapid divergence is interactions between host transferrin and the iron-scavenging proteins of pathogenic bacteria.

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