Metazoans are known to contain a limited, yet highly conserved, set of signal transduction pathways that instruct early developmental patterning mechanisms. Genomic surveys that have compared gene conservation in signal transduction pathways between various insects and Drosophila support the conclusion that these pathways are conserved in evolution. However, the degree to which individual components of signal transduction pathways vary among more divergent arthropods is not known. Here, we report our results of a survey of the genome of the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae, using a set of 294 Drosophila orthologs of genes that function in signal transduction. We find a third of all genes surveyed absent from the spider mite genome. We also identify several novel duplications that have not been previously reported for a chelicerate. In comparison with previous insect surveys, Tetranychus contains a decrease in overall gene conservation, as well as an unusual ratio of ligands to receptors and other modifiers. These findings suggest that gene loss and duplication among components of signal transduction pathways are common among arthropods and suggest that signal transduction pathways in arthropods are more evolutionarily labile than previously hypothesized.
- Arthropod comparative genomics
- Signal transduction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology