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DNA Seq. 1998;8(5):303-15.

Tandem zinc-finger gene families in mammals: insights and unanswered questions.

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Life Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TN 37831-8077, USA.


Evidence for the remarkable conservation of mammalian genomes, in both content and organization of resident genes, is rapidly emerging from comparative mapping studies. The frequent occurrence of familial gene clustering, presumably reflecting a history of tandem in situ duplications starting from a single ancestral gene, is also apparent from these analyses. Genes encoding Kruppel-type zinc-finger (ZNF) proteins, including those containing Kruppel-associated box (KRAB) motifs, are particularly prone to such clustered organization. Existing data suggest that genes in KRAB-ZNF gene clusters have diverged in sequence and expression patterns, possibly yielding families of proteins with distinct, yet related, functions. Comparative mapping studies indicate that at least some of the genes within these clusters in mammals were elaborated prior to the divergence of mammalian orders and, subsequently, have been conserved. These data suggest a possible role for these tandem KRAB-ZNF gene families in mammalian evolution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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