BackgroundAquaporins (AQPs), as members of the major intrinsic protein (MIP) superfamily, facilitated the permeation of water and other solutes and are involved in multiple biological processes. AQP family exists in almost all living organisms and is highly diversified in vertebrates in both classification and function due to genome wide duplication. While some AQP orthologs have been lost in higher vertebrates through evolution.ResultGenome-wide comparative analyses of the AQP family between allotetraploid frog Xenopus laevis (Xla) and diploid frog Xenopus tropicalis (Xtr), based on the genome assemblies, revealed that the number of AQPs in Xla genome nearly doubled that in Xtr (32 vs. 19). Synteny analysis indicated that the distribution of the retained AQPs in Xla subgenomes (17 in Xla. L, the longer homeolog of Xla genome and 15 in Xla. S, the shorter homeolog of Xla genome) were highly symmetrical when compared with that in Xtr genome. Remarkably, two members in Xla. L and four members in Xla. S were lost through evolution. Blast analysis revealed that the lost AQPs in Xla are pseudogenized via either the deletion of some exons or some single nucleotide insertions or deletions that lead the reading frame shift. Additionally, comparative genomic analyses suggested that the orthologs of AQPs that with one copy absence in Xla are also prone to be lost in higher vertebrates.ConclusionThis study revealed that polyploidization and subsequent pseudogenization and deletion in Xla genome promote the evolution of AQP family in higher vertebrates. Besides, our results would also contribute to understanding the evolution of AQP family.