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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1999 Dec;9(6):642-8.

Selfish operons: the evolutionary impact of gene clustering in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

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  • Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, 15260, USA. jlawrenc+@pitt.edu


The Selfish Operon Model postulates that the organization of bacterial genes into operons is beneficial to the constituent genes in that proximity allows horizontal cotransfer of all genes required for a selectable phenotype; eukaryotic operons formed for very different reasons. Horizontal transfer of selfish operons most probably promotes bacterial diversification.

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