Olfactory receptor repertoires show highly dynamic evolution associated with ecological adaptations in different species. The Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei
) living below a depth of 6000 m in the Mariana Trench evolved degraded vision and occupies a specific feeding habitat in a dark, low-food environment. However, whether such adaptations involve adaptive changes in the chemosensory receptor repertoire is not known. Here, we conducted a comparative analysis of the olfactory receptor (OR) and trace amine-associated receptor (TAAR) gene repertoires in nine teleosts with a focus on the evolutionary divergence between the Mariana snailfish and its shallow-sea relative, Tanaka’s snailfish (Liparis tanakae
). We found many fewer functional OR genes and a significantly higher fraction of pseudogenes in the Mariana snailfish, but the numbers of functional TAAR genes in the two species were comparable. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the expansion patterns of the gene families were shared by the two species, but that Mariana snailfish underwent massive gene losses in its OR repertoire. Despite an overall decreased size in OR subfamilies and a reduced number of TAAR subfamilies in the Mariana snailfish, expansion of certain subfamilies was observed. Selective pressure analysis indicated greatly relaxed selective strength in ORs but a slightly enhanced selective strength in TAARs of Mariana snailfish. Overall, our study reveals simplified but specific OR and TAAR repertoires in the Mariana snailfish shaped by natural selection with respect to ecological adaptations in the hadal environment. This is the first study on the chemosensation evolution in vertebrates living in the hadal zone, which could provide new insights into evolutionary adaptation to the hadal environment.
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