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Pick Your Poison: Molecular Evolution of Venom Proteins in Asilidae (Insecta: Diptera)

Howell Science Complex, East Carolina University, 1000 E 5th St., Greenville, NC 27858, USA
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Toxins 2020, 12(12), 738; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12120738
Received: 5 November 2020 / Revised: 16 November 2020 / Accepted: 20 November 2020 / Published: 24 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
Robber flies are an understudied family of venomous, predatory Diptera. With the recent characterization of venom from three asilid species, it is possible, for the first time, to study the molecular evolution of venom genes in this unique lineage. To accomplish this, a novel whole-body transcriptome of Eudioctria media was combined with 10 other publicly available asiloid thoracic or salivary gland transcriptomes to identify putative venom gene families and assess evidence of pervasive positive selection. A total of 348 gene families of sufficient size were analyzed, and 33 of these were predicted to contain venom genes. We recovered 151 families containing homologs to previously described venom proteins, and 40 of these were uniquely gained in Asilidae. Our gene family clustering suggests that many asilidin venom gene families are not natural groupings, as delimited by previous authors, but instead form multiple discrete gene families. Additionally, robber fly venoms have relatively few sites under positive selection, consistent with the hypothesis that the venoms of older lineages are dominated by negative selection acting to maintain toxic function. View Full-Text
Keywords: Asilidae; transcriptome; positive selection Asilidae; transcriptome; positive selection
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cohen, C.M.; Cole, T.J.; Brewer, M.S. Pick Your Poison: Molecular Evolution of Venom Proteins in Asilidae (Insecta: Diptera). Toxins 2020, 12, 738. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12120738

AMA Style

Cohen CM, Cole TJ, Brewer MS. Pick Your Poison: Molecular Evolution of Venom Proteins in Asilidae (Insecta: Diptera). Toxins. 2020; 12(12):738. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12120738

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cohen, Chris M., T. Jeffrey Cole, and Michael S. Brewer. 2020. "Pick Your Poison: Molecular Evolution of Venom Proteins in Asilidae (Insecta: Diptera)" Toxins 12, no. 12: 738. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12120738

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