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Genetica. 2009 Apr;135(3):309-24. doi: 10.1007/s10709-008-9289-z. Epub 2008 Jun 22.

Evolution of new gene functions: simulation and analysis of the amplification model.

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Department of Molecular Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Uppsala, SE-752 36, Sweden.


Creation of new genes and functions is a central feature of evolution. Duplication of existing genes has long been assumed to be the source of new genes, but the precise mechanism has remained unclear. One suggestion is that new genes are created via temporary amplifications, which simultaneously increase both the selective advantage of weak, pre-existing secondary functions and the target for optimizing mutations. This paper examines the amplification model by formalizing it into a mathematical framework. This framework is used to perform stochastic (Monte Carlo) simulations. In addition, experimental data from Salmonella typhimurium LT2 are used to support the modelling, by providing estimates for parameter values. The results show that amplification of tandem repeats is likely to contribute to creation of new genes in nature.

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