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Adaptive Evolution of Color Vision of the Comoran Coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae)

Shozo Yokoyama, Huan Zhang, F. Bernhard Radlwimmer and Nathan S. Blow
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 96, No. 11 (May 25, 1999), pp. 6279-6284
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/47861
Page Count: 6
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Adaptive Evolution of Color Vision of the Comoran Coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae)
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Abstract

The coelacanth, a "living fossil," lives near the coast of the Comoros archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Living at a depth of about 200 m, the Comoran coelacanth receives only a narrow range of light, at about 480 nm. To detect the entire range of "color" at this depth, the coelacanth appears to use only two closely related paralogous RH1 and RH2 visual pigments with the optimum light sensitivities (λ max) at 478 nm and 485 nm, respectively. The λ max values are shifted about 20 nm toward blue compared with those of the corresponding orthologous pigments. Mutagenesis experiments show that each of these coadapted changes is fully explained by two amino acid replacements.

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