Abstract

As species evolve, they become adapted to their local environments. Detecting the genetic signature of selection and connecting that to the phenotype of the organism, however, is challenging. Here we report using an integrative approach that combines DNA sequencing with structural biology analyses to assess the effect of selection on residues in the mitochondrial DNA of the two species of African elephants. We detected evidence of positive selection acting on residues in complexes I and V, and we used homology protein structure modeling to assess the effect of the biochemical properties of the selected residues on the enzyme structure. Given the role these enzymes play in oxidative phosphorylation, we propose that the selected residues may contribute to the metabolic adaptation of forest and savanna elephants to their unique habitats.

Publisher

Public Library of Science

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0092587

Publication Date

4-2-2014

College

College of Veterinary Medicine

Department

Department of Basic Sciences

Keywords

Adaptation, Animals, Electron Transport Complex I, Electron Transport Complex I: genetics, Elephants, Elephants: physiology, Evolution, Genetic, Genetic: physiology, Mitochondrial Proteins, Mitochondrial Proteins: genetics, Molecular, Physiological, Selection

Disciplines

Veterinary Medicine

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