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Cloning and characterization of the homologous genes of firefly luciferase in the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor


Yuichi Oba. Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464–8601, Japan. Tel./fax: +81 52 7894280; e-mail:


Three homologous genes of firefly luciferase were cloned from the non-luminous beetle Tenebrio molitor. Three gene products for homologues, TmLL-1, TmLL-2 and TmLL-3, showed fatty acyl-coenzyme A (acyl-CoA) synthetic activity, but not luciferase activity with firefly luciferin. The transcripts were detected through the developmental stages in T. molitor. These results suggested that firefly luciferase was evolved from a fatty acyl-coenzyme A synthetase by gene duplications in the insect.