Understanding the biochemical mechanisms that enable high-altitude animals to survive and function under conditions of hypoxic stress can provide important insights into the nature of physiological adaptation. Evidence from a number of high-altitude vertebrates indicates that modifications of hemoglobin function typically play a key role in mediating an adaptive response to chronic hypoxia. Because much is known about structure–function relationships of mammalian hemoglobins and their physiological role in oxygen transport, the study of hemoglobin variation in high-altitude mammals holds much promise for understanding the nature of adaptation to hypoxia from the level of blood biochemistry to the level of whole-organism physiology. In this review I 1st discuss basic biochemical principles of hemoglobin function and the nature of physiological adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia in mammals. I then discuss a case study involving a complex hemoglobin polymorphism in North American deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) that illustrates how integrative studies of protein function and fitness-related physiological performance can be used to obtain evolutionary insights into genetic mechanisms of adaptation.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.