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J Exp Zool B Mol Dev Evol. 2007 Jan 15;308(1):50-7.

Rapid evolution in a pair of recent duplicate segments of rice.

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CAS-Max Planck Junior Research Group, Key Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan 650223, China.


Gene duplication has been considered the most important way of generating genetic novelties. The subsequent evolution right after gene duplication is critical for new function to occur. Here we analyzed the evolutionary pattern for a recently duplicated segment between rice chromosomes 11 and 12. This duplication event was estimated to occur about 6 million years ago, during the divergence of the B- and C-genome rice species. The duplicate segment in chromosome 12 has significantly higher frequency of sequence rearrangement rate than non-duplicated regions. The rearrangement rate is approximately 6.5 breakages/Mb per million years, about six times higher than the fastest rate ever reported in eukaryotes. The genes within both segments experienced accelerated nucleotide substitution rates revealed by synonymous (Ks) and non-synonymous divergence (Ka) between Oryza sativa indica and O. sativa japonica. Analysis using EST data also implicates rapid divergence in expression between these segmental duplicate genes. These overall rapid changes from different perspective for the first time provide evidence that relaxation of selection also occurs in large-scale duplications.

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