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Mol Biol Evol. 2002 Jun;19(6):918-25.

Rapid divergence of gene duplicates on the Drosophila melanogaster X chromosome.

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  • 1Committee on Genetics, University of Chicago.


The recent sequencing of several eukaryotic genomes has generated considerable interest in the study of gene duplication events. The classical model of duplicate gene evolution is that recurrent mutation ultimately results in one copy becoming a pseudogene, and only rarely will a beneficial new function evolve. Here, we study divergence between coding sequence duplications in Drosophila melanogaster as a function of the linkage relationship between paralogs. The mean K(a)/K(s) between all duplicates in the D. melanogaster genome is 0.2803, indicating that purifying selection is maintaining the structure of duplicate coding sequences. However, the mean K(a)/K(s) between duplicates that are both on the X chromosome is 0.4701, significantly higher than the genome average. Further, the distribution of K(a)/K(s) for these X-linked duplicates is significantly shifted toward higher values when compared with the distributions for paralogs in other linkage relationships. Two models of molecular evolution provide qualitative explanations of these observations-relaxation of selective pressure on the duplicate copies and, more likely, positive selection on recessive adaptations. We also show that there is an excess of X-linked duplicates with low K(s), suggesting a larger proportion of relatively young duplicates on the D. melanogaster X chromosome relative to autosomes.

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