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Trends Genet. 2006 Aug;22(8):420-3. Epub 2006 Jun 27.

Is optimal gene order impossible?

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  • 1Evolutionary Systems Biology Initiative, Structural and Computational Biology Programme, Spanish National Cancer Centre (CNIO), Melchor Fern├índez Almagro 3, 28029 Madrid, Spain. jpoyatos@cnio.es


Recent evidence suggests that yeast genes encoding proteins that are present in the same protein complex tend to be linked and to be co-expressed. More generally, we found that genes that are close to each other in the protein interaction network tend to be linked more often than expected and are often co-expressed. Unexpectedly, we found that linked genes in network proximity have unusually high recombination rates. Because high recombination rates are associated with high rates of genome re-organization, our findings might explain why the clustering of genes in proximity in the network is such a weak effect: there could be a co-evolutionary cycle of physical linkage for co-expression, upwards modification of the recombination rate and concomitant break-up of a cluster. Under such a model an "optimal" gene order is never stable.

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