Presence and absence of COX8 in reptile transcriptomes
I searched for genes encoding for COX8 (cytochrome c oxidase subunit 8) in Iguanids (composed of chameleons, iguanas, agamids). These genes are important because this subunit is needed to effectively make ATP in the electron transport chain, and they are present in all other eukaryotes. Other studies have shown that chameleons do not have COX8, and I am checking to see if I can specify further where the gene coding for it was lost as well as make sure it is gone for certain in iguanids.
I obtained the blood transcriptomes of twelve squamate reptiles (Texas blind snake, red eyed crocodile skink, tokay gecko, prairie rattlesnake, yellow racer, savannah monitor, blonde hognose snake, bearded dragon, boa constrictor, chameleon, Asian vine snake, gold tegu), and both COX8 isoforms from Ensembl. I used Blast to compare the snake transcriptomes (previous studies prove snakes contain COX8) to COX8. Then I extracted the contigs that coded for COX8 and compared them to the rest of the reptiles and recorded if COX8 was present. In order to validate my findings, I did a control search test using the nuclear encoding cytochrome c, and the mitochondrially encoding cytochrome b.
I queried for COX8 within my transcriptomes, and discovered that it was missing in iguanids and several other orders. While I believe that it completely missing from Iguanids, I cannot be certain unless I were to obtain more data, such as a complete genome.
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