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Genetics. 2004 Apr;166(4):1995-9.

Genomic background predicts the fate of duplicated genes: evidence from the yeast genome.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biometrics and Bioinformatics, Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan.


Gene duplication with subsequent divergence plays a central role in the acquisition of genes with novel function and complexity during the course of evolution. With reduced functional constraints or through positive selection, these duplicated genes may experience accelerated evolution. Under the model of subfunctionalization, loss of subfunctions leads to complementary acceleration at sites with two copies, and the difference in average rate between the sequences may not be obvious. On the other hand, the classical model of neofunctionalization predicts that the evolutionary rate in one of the two duplicates is accelerated. However, the classical model does not tell which of the duplicates experiences the acceleration in evolutionary rate. Here, we present evidence from the Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome that a duplicate located in a genomic region with a low-recombination rate is likely to evolve faster than a duplicate in an area of high recombination. This observation is consistent with population genetics theory that predicts that purifying selection is less effective in genomic regions of low recombination (Hill-Robertson effect). Together with previous studies, our results suggest the genomic background (e.g., local recombination rate) as a potential force to drive the divergence between nontandemly duplicated genes. This implies the importance of structure and complexity of genomes in the diversification of organisms via gene duplications.

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