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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 856521, 12 pages
Research Article

The Evolutionary Pattern and the Regulation of Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase Genes

1State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan 650223, China
2Key Laboratory of Animal Models and Human Disease Mechanisms of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Yunnan Province, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Kunming, Yunnan 650223, China
3Department of Life Science and Biotechnology, Kunming University, Kunming 650214, China

Received 23 January 2013; Accepted 14 September 2013

Academic Editor: William Piel

Copyright © 2013 Xiaoyun Wu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) is a key enzyme that converts saturated fatty acids (SFAs) to monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in the biosynthesis of fat. To date, two isoforms of scd gene (scd1 and scd5) have been found widely existent in most of the vertebrate animals. However, the evolutionary patterns of both isofoms and the function of scd5 are poorly understandable. Herein, we aim to characterize the evolutionary pattern of scd genes and further predict the function differentiation of scd genes. The sequences of scd genes were highly conserved among eukaryote. Phylogenetic analysis identified two duplications of scd gene early in vertebrate evolution. The relative rate ratio test, branch-specific dN/dS ratio tests, and branch-site dN/dS ratio tests all suggested that the scd genes were evolved at a similar rate. The evolution of scd genes among eukaryote was under strictly purifying selection though several sites in scd1 and scd5 were undergone a relaxed selection pressure. The variable binding sites by transcriptional factors at the 5′-UTR and by miRNAs at 3′-UTR of scd genes suggested that the regulators of scd5 may be different from that of scd1. This study promotes our understanding of the evolutionary patterns and function of SCD genes in eukaryote.