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International Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 298147, 12 pages
Research Article

Evolution of the FGF Gene Family

CNRS, UMR 7232, BIOM, Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 06, Observatoire Océanologique, 66650 Banyuls-sur-Mer, France

Received 27 April 2012; Accepted 6 June 2012

Academic Editor: Frédéric Brunet

Copyright © 2012 Silvan Oulion 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.


Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs) are small proteins generally secreted, acting through binding to transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptors (FGFRs). Activation of FGFRs triggers several cytoplasmic cascades leading to the modification of cell behavior. FGFs play critical roles in a variety of developmental and physiological processes. Since their discovery in mammals, FGFs have been found in many metazoans and some arthropod viruses. Efforts have been previously made to decipher the evolutionary history of this family but conclusions were limited due to a poor taxonomic coverage. We took advantage of the availability of many new sequences from diverse metazoan lineages to further explore the possible evolutionary scenarios explaining the diversity of the FGF gene family. Our analyses, based on phylogenetics and synteny conservation approaches, allow us to propose a new classification of FGF genes into eight subfamilies, and to draw hypotheses for the evolutionary events leading to the present diversity of this gene family.