Biochemical pedomorphosis and genetic assimilation in the hypoxia adaptation of Tibetan antelope

Developmental shifts in stage-specific gene expression can provide a ready mechanism of phenotypic change by altering the rate or timing of ontogenetic events. We found that the high-altitude Tibetan antelope (Panthelops hodgsonii) has evolved an adaptive increase in blood-O2 affinity by truncating the ancestral ontogeny of globin gene expression such that a high-affinity juvenile hemoglobin isoform (isoHb) completely supplants the loweraffinity isoHb that is expressed in the adult red blood cells of other bovids.

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