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Systematics Section / ASPT

Zetzsche, Holger [1], Adams, Robert P. [2], Schwarzbach, Andrea E. [3].

Evolution of a pollen allergen gene in Juniperus.

The northern hemisphere conifer genus Juniperus comprises approximately 67 species. Junipers occur in a large variety of habitats ranging from deserts to marshes and from sea level to above timberline. Juniper trees produce large quantities of pollen that can become simultaneously airborne within a short period of time. In areas where those trees are abundant, pollen allergies are a major concern. To date, five allergen proteins have been identified in Juniperus. The purpose of this study is to generate knowledge of the sequence differences within pollen allergen genes on a worldwide basis and to determine patterns of sequence evolution. The current study investigated exons 1 and 3 of the nuclear pollen allergen gene Jun a1 including 160 individuals of 50 Juniperus species. DNA sequence data were analyzed using parsimony and Bayesian methods. To test for the origin of multiple copies, PCR products of eight individuals belonging to eight different clades were cloned and sequenced. Preliminary data indicate multiple gene copies form mostly monophyletic groups, suggesting duplication events after speciation. The data set for the gene is the first allergen gene sequenced and compared for a large group of related species. Results show that this allergen gene is variable at the species and the genus level. Possible medical consequences relating to the development of vaccines will be discussed.


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1 - Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences, Po Box 5190, Kent, Ohio, 44242-0001, USA
2 - Baylor University, Biology Department, P.O. Box 97388, Waco, Texas, 76798, USA
3 - Kent State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 256 Cunningham Hall, Kent, Ohio, 44242, USA

Keywords:
Juniperus
Cupressaceae
nuclear gene phylogeny
allergy gene
pollen.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 25-1
Location: 410/Hilton
Date: Tuesday, August 16th, 2005
Time: 8:00 AM
Abstract ID:343


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