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V2R gene families degenerated in primates, dog and cow, but expanded in opossum.

The V2R genes are expressed in the mammalian vomeronasal organ, and their products are involved in detecting pheromones. Here, we describe the evolution of the V2R gene family. We have found that the human, chimpanzee, macaque, cow and dog V2R gene families have completely degenerated. Each now contains 9-20 pseudogenes but no intact V2R genes. By contrast, opossum has approximately 90 intact V2R genes that mostly arose by duplication after opossum and rodent lineages diverged. One V2R gene subfamily with unusual biology evolved atypically, showing limited expansion in rodents and persistence of a single, albeit sometimes dysfunctional, ortholog in all other species examined.

Pubmed ID: 17382427


  • Young JM
  • Trask BJ


Trends in genetics : TIG

Publication Data

May 27, 2007

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: CA092167
  • Agency: NIDCD NIH HHS, Id: DC004209
  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: R01 CA092167
  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: R01 CA092167-03
  • Agency: NIDCD NIH HHS, Id: R01 DC004209
  • Agency: NIDCD NIH HHS, Id: R01 DC004209-09

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Dogs
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Duplication
  • Hominidae
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Multigene Family
  • Opossums
  • Primates
  • Species Specificity
  • Vomeronasal Organ