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Molecular Evolution and Genome Diversity

Dr. Ya-Ping Zhang,  Academician & Vice-President, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is an associate editor of Genome Biol Evol, and the editorial board of Anim Genet. This year we focused on genomic evolution and molecular machenism of natural selection in human and wild animals, artificial selection in domesticated animals. Within 2013, we got importance progress and 40 SCI papers have been published and 4 papers have impact factor higher than 10, including PNAS(1)Mol Biol Evol (1), Nat Commun (2).


1. The Origin and Artificial Selection of Domestic Dog at Genomic Level

Domesticated dog is the earliest domesticated animals. By perform whole-genome sequencing of four grey wolves, three Chinese indigenous dogs and three breed of dogs, we find that the split between wolves and Chinese indigenous dogs occurred 32,000 years ago and that the subsequent bottlenecks were mild, and further propose the scavengers hypothesis for the origin of domestic dogs. Meanwhile, we discover that the selected genes exist significantly intersection between domestic dogs and human, and firstly illustrate that the process of parallel evolution observably exist between domestic dogs and human.

Another study, using genome-wide SNP data, we discovers that population-differentiated significant genes between Chinese indigenous dog population and the gray wolf population have expression bias in the brain tissues, particularly in the neocortex, a specific region controlling complex cognitive behavior, and provides an example for studying behavior and other complex traits. Two complementary studies revealed the genetic basis of the transform of two important traits - foods and behaviors in both genic level and expression level during domestication, and offer a new perspective for our studying and comprehending the human evolution and disease.


Natural Science Prizes of Yunnan Province, Top Grade, 2013Genome Diversity and Evolution of Asian

Natural Science Prizes of Yunnan Province, First Grade, 2013Molcular mechanism of adaptive evolution of animals


  1. Ge RL*, Cai QL, Shen YY, …, Murphy RW, Wang J, Zhang YP*, Wang J*. Draft genome sequence of the Tibetan antelope. Nature Commun, 2013,4.
  2. Li JT*, Li Y, Klaus S, Rao DQ, Hillis DM, Zhang YP*. Diversification of rhacophorid frogs provides evidence for accelerated faunal exchange between India and Eurasia during the Oligocene. PNAS, 2013,110(9):3441-46.
  3. Li Y, vonHoldt BM, Reynolds A, Boyko AR, Wayne RK, Wu DD*, Zhang YP*. Artificial selection on brain-expressed genes during the domestication of dog. Mol Biol Evol, 2013,30(8):1867-76.
  4. Liang L, Shen YY*, Pan XW, Zhou TC, Yang C, Irwin DM, Zhang YP*. Adaptive evolution of the Hox gene family for development in bats and dolphins. PLoS One, 2013,8(6):e65944.
  5. Miao YW, Peng MS, ..., Baig M, Chaudhuri TK, Shen YY, Kong QP, Murphy RW, Yao YG, Zhang YP*. Chicken domestication: an updated perspective based on mitochondrial genomes. Heredity, 2013,110(3):277-282.
  6. Sun YB, Zhou WP, Liu HQ, Irwin DM, Shen YY*, Zhang YP*. Genome-wide scans for candidate genes involved in the aquatic adaptation of dolphins. Genome Biol Evol, 2013,5(1):130-139.
  7. Wang GD, Zhai WW, Yang HC, Fan RX, Cao X, Zhong L, Wang L, Liu F, …, Gao Y, Lv XM, Irwin DM, Savolainen P, Wu CI*, Zhang YP*. The genomics of selection in dogs and the parallel evolution between dogs and humans. Nat Commun, 2013,4:1860.
  8. Wang SY, Luo J, Murphy RW, Wu SF, Zhu CL, Gao Y*, Zhang YP*. Origin of chinese goldfish and sequential loss of genetic diversity accompanies new breeds. PLoS One, 2013,8(3):e59571.
  9. Wu DD*, Zhang YP*. Evolution and function of de novo originated genes. Mol Phylogenet Evol, 2013,67(2):541-545.


Dr. Robert W. Murphy, Visiting Professor

Dr. David Irwin, Visiting Professor

Dr. Yun Gao, Associate Professor;

Dr. Dong-Dong Wu, Associate Professor

Dr. Min-Sheng Peng, Associate Professor

Dr. Guo-Dong Wang, Associate Professor,

Dr. Hai-Bing Xie, Assistant Professor,

Dr. Rui Chen, Assistant Professor

Ms. Jing He, Assistant Professor,

Mr. Yun-Fei Ma, Resarch Assistant


Ms. Shi-Fang Wu

Ms. Chun-Ling Zhu

Mr. Peng-Biao Yang

Mr. Wei-Feng Hao

Ms Yu-Ping Yao

Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Jia-Tang Li2009

Dr. Chuan-Jiang Zhou, 2011

Dr. Yan Li, 2012

Dr. Lin-Dan Ji, 2012

Dr. Gang Ni, 2013

Graduate Students

SY Wang; HC Yang; F Yan; HQ Liu; L Liang; ZY Yuan; J Liu; ZY Zhou; X Cao;

MS Wang; F Liu; Y Yang; XM Han; Y Shao; HB Xu; D Xu; LQ Ye; L Zeng; TT Yin;

CP Huang; NN Shi; YX Huo; YM Wang; MD Lu; Y Yao;

Nguyen Ngoc Sang; Adeola Adeniyi Charles


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