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Fitting in: Newly evolved genes adopt a variety of strategies to remain in the gene pool

fessor at the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. "We show that, at least for yeast metabolism, the persistence of the duplicated fraction of the genome can be better explained with an array of different, often overlapping functional roles."

Yeast metabolism provides an ideal model for investigating the functional basis for gene duplication because a large proportion of genes involved in this biological process have been duplicated. Of the 672 genes involved in yeast metabolism, 295 genes can be classified into 105 families of duplicates. To put this into perspective, the yeast genome has an estimated total of 6,000 genes, 1,500 of which are considered to be duplicates. An ancient whole-genome duplication event is thought to be responsible for the formation of many of these duplicate copies.

Sauer's group demonstrated that of the 105 families of duplicated gene families involved in yeast metabolism, 34 demonstrated back-up function, 19 were involved in increased gene dosage, 18 exhibited regulatory functions, and 18 had evolved new, more specialized functions. Therefore, each of these mechanisms plays a substantial and important role in the maintenance of functional duplicates in the gene pool.


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Source:Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory


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