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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2001 Dec;11(6):660-6.

Gene expression and molecular evolution.

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Institute of Molecular Evolutionary Genetics and Department of Biology, 208 Mueller Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 06138, USA.


The combination of complete genome sequence information and estimates of mRNA abundances have begun to reveal causes of both silent and protein sequence evolution. Translational selection appears to explain patterns of synonymous codon usage in many prokaryotes as well as a number of eukaryotic model organisms (with the notable exception of vertebrates). Relationships between gene length and codon usage bias, however, remain unexplained. Intriguing correlations between expression patterns and protein divergence suggest some general mechanisms underlying protein evolution.

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