Whole-Genome Duplications and the Diversification of the Globin-X Genes of Vertebrates

Federico G. Hoffmann, Jay F. Storz, Shigehiro Kuraku, Michael W. Vandewege, Juan C. Opazo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Globin-X (GbX) is an enigmatic member of the vertebrate globin gene family with a wide phyletic distribution that spans protostomes and deuterostomes. Unlike canonical globins such as hemoglobins and myoglobins, functional data suggest that GbX does not have a primary respiratory function. Instead, evidence suggests that the monomeric, membrane-bound GbX may play a role in cellular signaling or protection against the oxidation of membrane lipids. Recently released genomes from key vertebrates provide an excellent opportunity to address questions about the early stages of the evolution of GbX in vertebrates. We integrate bioinformatics, synteny, and phylogenetic analyses to characterize the diversity of GbX genes in nonteleost ray-finned fishes, resolve relationships between the GbX genes of cartilaginous fish and bony vertebrates, and demonstrate that the GbX genes of cyclostomes and gnathostomes derive from independent duplications. Our study highlights the role that whole-genome duplications (WGDs) have played in expanding the repertoire of genes in vertebrate genomes. Our results indicate that GbX paralogs have a remarkably high rate of retention following WGDs relative to other globin genes and provide an evolutionary framework for interpreting results of experiments that examine functional properties of GbX and patterns of tissue-specific expression. By identifying GbX paralogs that are products of different WGDs, our results can guide the design of experimental work to explore whether gene duplicates that originate via WGDs have evolved novel functional properties or expression profiles relative to singleton or tandemly duplicated copies of GbX.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberevab205
JournalGenome Biology and Evolution
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • comparative genomics
  • cyclostomes
  • gene expansion
  • gene family evolution
  • synteny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Whole-Genome Duplications and the Diversification of the Globin-X Genes of Vertebrates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this