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Evolution of Pinnipedia lactation strategies: a potential role for α-lactalbumin?

journal contribution
posted on 2007-10-22, 00:00 authored by C Reich, John ArnouldJohn Arnould
Despite the considerable variation in milk composition found among mammals, a constituent common across all groups is lactose, the main sugar and osmole in most eutherians milk. Exceptions to this are the families Otariidae (fur seals and sea lions) and Odobenidae (walruses), where lactose has not been detected. We investigated the molecular basis for this by cloning α-lactalbumin, the modifier protein of the lactose synthase complex. A mutation was observed which, in addition to preventing lactose production, may enable otariids to maintain lactation despite the extremely long inter-suckling intervals during the mother's time at sea foraging (more than 23 days in some species).

History

Journal

Biology letters

Volume

3

Issue

5

Pagination

546 - 549

Publisher

The Royal Society

Location

London, England

ISSN

1744-9561

eISSN

1744-957X

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2007, The Royal Society