Journal article

Characterization of the opossum immune genome provides insights into the evolution of the mammalian immune system

Katherine Belov, Claire E Sanderson, Janine E Deakin, Emily SW Wong, Daniel Assange, Kaighin A McColl, Alex Gout, Bernard de Bono, Alexander D Barrow, Terence P Speed, John Trowsdale, Anthony T Papenfuss

Genome Research | COLD SPRING HARBOR LAB PRESS, PUBLICATIONS DEPT | Published : 2007

Abstract

The availability of the first marsupial genome sequence has allowed us to characterize the immunome of the gray short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica). Here we report the identification of key immune genes, including the highly divergent chemokines, defensins, cathelicidins, and Natural Killer cell receptors. It appears that the increase in complexity of the mammalian immune system occurred prior to the divergence of the marsupial and eutherian lineages approximately 180 million years ago. Genomes of ancestral mammals most likely contained all of the key mammalian immune gene families, with evolution on different continents, in the presence of different pathogens leading to lineage spe..

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