The evolution of venom-expressed gene families in Synspermiata spiders
Venoms are complex mixtures of peptides and proteins that include products of multiple gene families. The histories of the gene families in venoms typically include duplication of a gene that codes for a protein that does not have venomous function, change in expression patterns, and the evolution of differences in functional specificity. We are analyzing the histories of proteins in venoms of brown recluse spiders and their relatives. This work applies bioinformatics and molecular tools to analyze expression of members of gene families in venom glands and other tissues, and to infer the evolutionary histories of venom proteins.