Petar Pajic led this project that we designed with Stefan Ruhl Laboratory on how mucin proteins have evolved. The roles of mucins in different biological processes are becoming more appreciated recently in both evolutionary and biomedical fields. However, their evolution was not known. Our work showed that the gain of exonic repeats on existing precursor genes led to the de novo evolution of mucin function in multiple mammalian lineages. Our manuscript, “A mechanism of gene evolution generating mucin function” is now published in Science Advances.
Mucins are pretty awesome. Next step: figuring out how they contribute to slug sex.