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Trends Genet. 2008 Mar;24(3):114-23. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2007.12.001. Epub 2008 Feb 4.

Evolution of protein-coding genes in Drosophila.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Several contributing factors have been implicated in evolutionary rate heterogeneity among proteins, but their evolutionary mechanisms remain poorly characterized. The recently sequenced 12 Drosophila genomes provide a unique opportunity to shed light on these unresolved issues. Here, we focus on the role of natural selection in shaping evolutionary rates. We use the Drosophila genomic data to distinguish between factors that increase the strength of purifying selection on proteins and factors that affect the amount of positive selection experienced by proteins. We confirm the importance of translational selection in shaping protein evolution in Drosophila and show that factors such as tissue bias in expression, gene essentiality, intron number, and recombination rate also contribute to evolutionary rate variation among proteins.

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