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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 1999 Oct;10(5):523-30.

Gene duplications in early metazoan evolution.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, BMC, Uppsala, Sweden.


Major increases in complexity during animal evolution occurred at the transition from a unicellular protozoan to a multicellular metazoan, the evolution of Bilateria from diploblasts (possibly the Cambrian explosion) and during early vertebrate evolution. A role for gene duplication in the third event has been widely discussed. Here I examine the possible role of gene duplications and domain shuffling in the first two events. There is evidence for a wave of gene duplications and shuffling which may have paved the way for multicellularity; there are also examples of gene duplications that may have facilitated the transition from diploblasts to Bilateria.

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