Poster Presentation Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution Conference 2016

Preliminary insights into selection in the platypus (#481)

Portia Westall 1 , Hilary Martin 2 , Elizabeth Batty 2 , Colin Freeman 2 , Tasman Daish 3 , Frank Grutzner 3 , Tom Grant 4 , Rory Bowden 2 , Peter Donnelly 2 , Jaime Gongora 5
  1. University of Sydney, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia
  2. Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, England
  3. Univeristy of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia
  4. Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  5. Facuty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia

The platypus is endemic to Australia and exhibits a fascinating suite of characteristics, being a specialised semi-aquatic, fossorial, carnivorous and egg laying mammal. It occurs naturally in freshwater streams, rivers and lakes of eastern Australia, including Tasmania and King Island. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA has revealed the existence of least three evolutionary significant units within the platypus and existent of discrete genetic populations at the regional and river basin level with very limited gene flow. In addition, platypus genome and transcriptome data analyses have revealed unique signatures of evolution and the role of different selective pressures on gene expression. Given this and the position of the platypus as part of the most basal mammal group, this species is ideal for investigating the evolution and genetic factors underlying of different biological processes in mammals. This includes whether genetic structuring and differences between the documented platypus evolutionary lineages have resulted in gene, and potentially genome-wide differences, that could provide insights to natural selection. Here we assess the genetic diversity of genes associated with metabolism and electroreception using genome sequences from platypuses from New South Wales. This is the first whole-genome sequencing project to look at the landscape of coding genes being part of a collaborative research program with the University of Oxford in which platypus population structure and history, and fine-scale recombination rates are being studied.