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Genomics. 2007 Sep;90(3):334-43. Epub 2007 Jul 12.

Parent genes of retrotransposition-generated gene duplicates in Drosophila melanogaster have distinct expression profiles.

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Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada NB E3B 6E1.


Genes arising by retrotransposition are always different from their parent genes from the outset. In addition, the cDNA must insert into a region that allows expression or it will become a processed pseudogene. We sought to determine whether this class of gene duplication differs from other gene duplications based on functional criteria. Using amino acid sequences from Drosophila melanogaster, we identified retroduplicated gene pairs at various levels of sequence identity. Analysis of gene ontology annotations showed some enrichment of retroduplications in the cellular physiological processes class. Retroduplications show a higher level of nucleotide substitution than other gene duplications, suggesting a higher rate of divergence. Remarkably, analysis of microarray data for gene expression during embryogenesis showed that parent genes are more highly expressed relative to their retroduplicated copies, tandem duplications, and all genes. Furthermore, an expressed sequence tag library representation shows a broader distribution for parent genes than for all other genes and, as found previously by others, retroduplicated gene transcripts are found most abundantly in testes. Therefore, in examining retroduplicated gene pairs, we have found that parent genes of retroduplications are also a distinctive class in terms of transcript expression levels and distribution.

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