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While color patterns are highly diverse across the animal kingdom, certain patterns such as countershading and stripe patterns have evolved repeatedly. Across vertebrates, agouti-signaling genes have been associated with the evolution of both patterns. Here we study the functional conservation and divergence by investigating the expression patterns of the two color-pattern-related agouti-signaling genes, agouti-signaling protein 1 (asip1) and agouti-signaling protein 2b (asip2b, also known as agrp2) in Teleostei. We show that the dorsoventral expression profile of asip1 and the role of the "stripe repressor" asip2b are shared across multiple teleost lineages and uncover a previously unknown association between stripe-interstripe patterning and both asip1 and asip2b expression. In some species, including the zebrafish (Danio rerio), these two genes show complementary and overlapping expression patterns in line with functional redundancy. Our results thus suggest how conserved and novel functions of agouti-signaling genes might have shaped the evolution of color patterns across teleost fishes. © 2021 The Authors. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution Published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


Yipeng Liang, Maximilian Grauvogl, Axel Meyer, Claudius F Kratochwil. Functional conservation and divergence of color-pattern-related agouti family genes in teleost fishes. Journal of experimental zoology. Part B, Molecular and developmental evolution. 2021 Jul;336(5):443-450

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PMID: 33755299

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