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Multiple independent reduction or loss of antifreeze trait in low Antarctic and sub-Antarctic notothenioid fishes

  • Tshoanelo Miya (a1) (a2), Ofer Gon (a1), Monica Mwale (a1) (a3) and C.-H. Christina Cheng (a4)

Antifreeze glycoprotein (AFGP) in Antarctic notothenioids presumably evolved once at the base of the notothenioid radiation in the Southern Ocean. Some species closely related to the endemic Antarctic notothenioids occur in non-freezing sub-Antarctic waters where antifreeze protection is unnecessary. We examined the antifreeze trait (phenotype and genotype) of these sub-Antarctic species to help infer their evolutionary history and origin. The status of the AFGP genotype (AFGP coding sequences in DNA) and/or phenotype (serum thermal hysteresis) varies widely, from being undetectable in Dissostichus eleginoides and Patagonotothen species from the Falkland Islands, minimal in Marion Island Paranotothenia magellanica and Lepidonotothen squamifrons from the South Sandwich and Bouvet islands, to considerable genotype in the Falkland Islands Champsocephalus esox and Marion Island Harpagifer georgianus. All low Antarctic notothenioid species examined show substantial AFGP trait. Mapping of the AFGP trait status onto ND2 phylogenetic trees of a large sampling of notothenioids revealed that AFGP trait reduction or loss occurred at least three independent times in different lineages.

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Antarctic Science
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