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Nat Rev Genet. 2011 Aug 31;12(10):692-702. doi: 10.1038/nrg3053.

The evolutionary origin of orphan genes.

Author information

  • 1Max-Planck Institut für Evolutionsbiologie, August-Thienemannstrasse 2, 24306 Plön, Germany. tautz@evolbio.mpg.de

Abstract

Gene evolution has long been thought to be primarily driven by duplication and rearrangement mechanisms. However, every evolutionary lineage harbours orphan genes that lack homologues in other lineages and whose evolutionary origin is only poorly understood. Orphan genes might arise from duplication and rearrangement processes followed by fast divergence; however, de novo evolution out of non-coding genomic regions is emerging as an important additional mechanism. This process appears to provide raw material continuously for the evolution of new gene functions, which can become relevant for lineage-specific adaptations.

PMID:
21878963
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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