L-Ascorbic Acid Synthesis in Birds: Phylogenetic Trend

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Science  25 Apr 1969:
Vol. 164, Issue 3878, pp. 435-436
DOI: 10.1126/science.164.3878.435


The ability of several species of birds to synthesize L-ascorbic acid is correlated with their phylogeny. In the more primitive species, synthesis of L-ascorbic acid occurs in the kidney. Among the highly evolved passeriform species, kidney and liver can synthesize L-ascorbic acid in some, whereas in others synthesis occurs in the liver. In still others, the capacity for the synthesis of L-ascorbic acid is apparently lost. The pattern of evolution of the ascorbic acid pathway among birds is thus similar to that among mammals.

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