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PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e48295. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048295. Epub 2012 Oct 29.

Mutational bias and translational selection shaping the codon usage pattern of tissue-specific genes in rice.

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  • College of Agriculture and Food Science, Zhejiang A & F University, Lin'an, People's Republic of China. liuqp@zafu.edu.cn


The regulatory mechanisms of determining which genes specifically expressed in which tissues are still not fully elucidated, especially in plants. Using internal correspondence analysis, I first establish that tissue-specific genes exhibit significantly different synonymous codon usage in rice, although this effect is weak. The variability of synonymous codon usage between tissues accounts for 5.62% of the total codon usage variability, which has mainly arisen from the neutral evolutionary forces, such as GC content variation among tissues. Moreover, tissue-specific genes are under differential selective constraints, inferring that natural selection also contributes to the codon usage divergence between tissues. These findings may add further evidence in understanding the differentiation and regulation of tissue-specific gene products in plants.

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