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Nature. 2006 Mar 2;440(7080):41-5.

Introns and the origin of nucleus-cytosol compartmentalization.

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  • 1Institute of Botany III, University of Düsseldorf, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany. w.martin@uni-duesseldorf.de


The origin of the eukaryotic nucleus marked a seminal evolutionary transition. We propose that the nuclear envelope's incipient function was to allow mRNA splicing, which is slow, to go to completion so that translation, which is fast, would occur only on mRNA with intact reading frames. The rapid, fortuitous spread of introns following the origin of mitochondria is adduced as the selective pressure that forged nucleus-cytosol compartmentalization.

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