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Molecular evolution and genetic diversity of toxins in Nemertea

Grant number: 18/12502-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2018
Effective date (End): June 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Applied Zoology
Principal researcher:Sónia Cristina da Silva Andrade
Grantee:Gabriel Gonzalez Sonoda
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/20139-9 - Seascape genetics and evaluation of expression profiles on marine invertebrates on Brazilian Southeast coast, AP.JP


Nemertea is a phylum of vermiform animals, most marine and carnivores. These animals are armed with toxins, which they use both for predation and defense. However, little is known about the diversity of toxins present within this clade or about the exact function of these toxins in the biology of many of their representants. This study aims to identify if there is genetic variability in three candidate genes that code toxins in Nemertean that inhabit the Brazilian Coast and describe their intra and interspecific diversity. Molecular evolution analysis will be performed to estimate if natural selection has had a role on these genes variation throughout their evolution. To do so, five species shall be analyzed, four of which will be collected at Northern Coast of São Paulo State (Lineus bonaerensis, Nemertopsis bivitatta, Ototyphlonemertes lactea and O. erneba), and Cerebratulus lineolatus, which specimens have been previously collected in Ceará State.

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