Vertebrate genomes are mosaics of isochores. On the assumption that marked differences exist in the isochore structure between warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals, variations among vertebrates were previously attributed to adaptation to homeothermy. However, based on the data of coding regions from representatives of extant vertebrates, including a turtle, a crocodile (Archosauromorpha) and a few kinds of snakes (Lepidosauromorpha), it was recently hypothesized that the common ancestors of mammals, birds and extant reptiles already had the "warm-blooded" isochore structure. To test this hypothesis, the nucleotide sequences of α-globin genes including non-coding regions (introns) from two snakes, N. kaouthia and E. climacophora, were determined (accession number: AB104824, AB104825). The correlation between the GC contents in the introns and exons of α-globin genes from snakes and those from other vertebrates supports the above hypothesis. Similar analysis using data for exons and introns of other genes obtained from the GenBank (Release 131) also support the above hypothesis.
2003 by The Genetics Society of Japan