Olfactory receptors (ORs) play a critical role in recognizing odorant molecules in the olfactory sensory system. OR proteins are encoded by the largest multigene family in the mammalian genome. In this study, the OR gene family of giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca
) was analyzed in depth. The results revealed that the giant panda had 1 048 OR genes, including 645 intact OR genes, 219 pseudogenes and 184 truncated OR genes. The OR genes of giant panda could be classified into 22 families and 240 subfamilies according to the protein sequence similarity. The average number of OR genes in each subfamily was less than 5, and this indicated that the OR gene family of giant panda had high sequence diversity. Multispecies OR gene clustering analysis was performed with OR protein sequences from A. melanoleuca
, polar bears (Ursus maritimus
), dogs (Canis lupus familiaris
) and mice (Mus musculus
), the results showed that these species shared 267 orthologous OR gene clusters. No specific OR genes were identified in giant panda, indicating that the giant panda had no special olfactory capacity. Moreover, we found that the polar bear was a close relative of the giant panda, and the number of OR genes from giant panda was significantly less than that of polar bear, demonstrating that the giant panda had lost a great number of OR genes during evolution, which may be caused by the great change in feeding habits.
2017,36(1): 1-6 收稿日期：2016-05-13
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