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Genetic and evolutionary patterns of innate immune genes in the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas

Song, Kai, Li, Yingxiang, Huang, Baoyu, Li, Li, Zhang, Guofan
Developmental and comparative immunology 2017 v.77 pp. 17-22
Crassostrea gigas, evolution, genes, genetic variation, innate immunity, oysters, stress response
The invertebrate innate immune system functions in immune defence and the stress response. However, knowledge of the genetic and evolutionary patterns of innate immune genes in Mollusca is limited, especially for oysters. Such information would help clarify how oysters adapt to pathogen-rich environments. Here, we characterized the genetic and evolutionary patterns of the innate immune genes in Crassostrea gigas, using population diversity analysis and evolution rates comparison. Innate immune genes have higher median nucleotide diversity than non-immune genes. Nucleotide diversity varied with functional regions and different immune-related gene families. Evolutionary analysis of two Crassostrea species showed that the innate immune genes are less conserved and have higher rates of evolution in C. gigas. We also noted a positive association between nucleotide diversity and selective pressures for genes having orthologues. Our findings will help determine the evolutionary patterns of innate immune genes and the association of these genes with mollusc immunity.