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Genes Genet Syst. 2003 Aug;78(4):309-18.

Evolution of the GC content of the histone 3 gene in seven Drosophila species.

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Laboratory of Adaptive Evolution, Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan.


The molecular evolution of the histone multigene family was studied by cloning and determining the nucleotide sequences of the histone 3 genes in seven Drosophila species, D. takahashii, D. lutescens, D. ficusphila, D. persimilis, D.pseudoobscura, D. americana and D. immigrans. CT repeats, a TATA box and an AGTG motif in the 5' region, and a hairpin loop and purine-rich motifs (CAA(T/G)GAGA) in the 3' region were conserved even in distantly related species. In D. hydei and D.americana, the GC content at the third codon position in the protein coding region was relatively low (49% and 45%), while in D. takahashii and D. lutescens it was relatively high (64% and 65%). The non- significant correlation between the GC contents in the 3' region and at the third codon position as well as the evidence of less constraint in the 3' region suggested that mutational bias may not be the major mechanism responsible for the biased nucleotide change at the third codon position or for codon usage bias.

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