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Genetics. 2007 Nov;177(3):1753-63.

Extensive concerted evolution of rice paralogs and the road to regaining independence.

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Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.


Many genes duplicated by whole-genome duplications (WGDs) are more similar to one another than expected. We investigated whether concerted evolution through conversion and crossing over, well-known to affect tandem gene clusters, also affects dispersed paralogs. Genome sequences for two Oryza subspecies reveal appreciable gene conversion in the approximately 0.4 MY since their divergence, with a gradual progression toward independent evolution of older paralogs. Since divergence from subspecies indica, approximately 8% of japonica paralogs produced 5-7 MYA on chromosomes 11 and 12 have been affected by gene conversion and several reciprocal exchanges of chromosomal segments, while approximately 70-MY-old "paleologs" resulting from a genome duplication (GD) show much less conversion. Sequence similarity analysis in proximal gene clusters also suggests more conversion between younger paralogs. About 8% of paleologs may have been converted since rice-sorghum divergence approximately 41 MYA. Domain-encoding sequences are more frequently converted than nondomain sequences, suggesting a sort of circularity--that sequences conserved by selection may be further conserved by relatively frequent conversion. The higher level of concerted evolution in the 5-7 MY-old segmental duplication may reflect the behavior of many genomes within the first few million years after duplication or polyploidization.

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