Data from: Acquisition of germ plasm accelerates vertebrate evolution.
Cite this dataset
Evans, Teri et al. (2015). Data from: Acquisition of germ plasm accelerates vertebrate evolution. [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rd70f
Primordial germ cell (PGC) specification occurs either by induction from pluripotent cells (epigenesis) or by a cell-autonomous mechanism mediated by germ plasm (preformation). Among vertebrates, epigenesis is basal, whereas germ plasm has evolved convergently across lineages and is associated with greater speciation. We compared protein-coding sequences of vertebrate species that employ preformation with their sister taxa that use epigenesis and demonstrate that genes evolve more rapidly in species containing germ plasm. Furthermore, differences in rates of evolution appear to cause phylogenetic incongruence in protein-coding sequence comparisons between vertebrate taxa. Our results support the hypothesis that germ plasm liberates constraints on somatic development and that enhanced evolvability drives the evolution of germ plasm.