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Molecular adaptation and convergent evolution of frugivory in Old World and New World fruit bats

Citation

Wang, Kai; Zhao, Huabin (2020), Molecular adaptation and convergent evolution of frugivory in Old World and New World fruit bats, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.vt4b8gtpn

Abstract

Repeated adaptations to the same dietary niche in different lineages are a hallmark in mammalian ecology. Molecular evolutionary analysis is powerful to dissect the evolutionary history of dietary adaptations based on the knowledge of gene functions. Here we used genome-wide analyses of molecular evolution to examine two lineages of bats that have independently evolved obligate frugivory: the Old World family Pteropodidae and the New World subfamily Stenodermatinae, although ancestral bats were insectivorous. We report novel genome sequences of two New World fruit bats (Artibeus jamaicensis and Sturnira hondurensis), which together provide a framework for comparisons with Old World fruit bats. Comparative genomics of 10 bat species, which have diverse diets across their phylogeny, revealed a number of convergent molecular signatures underlying evolutionary adaptations to obligate frugivory. We identified three subfamilies of olfactory receptor genes, losses of three bitter taste receptor genes, losses of two digestive enzyme genes, and convergent amino acid substitutions in several metabolic genes that are specifically linked to frugivory. This study provides an excellent model to explore molecular adaptations contributing to convergent evolution of obligate frugivory, and will facilitate future studies of ecological adaptations in mammals.