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PLoS Genet. 2010 Nov 4;6(11):e1001187. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1001187.

The cellular robustness by genetic redundancy in budding yeast.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. jj.li@utoronto.ca

Abstract

The frequent dispensability of duplicated genes in budding yeast is heralded as a hallmark of genetic robustness contributed by genetic redundancy. However, theoretical predictions suggest such backup by redundancy is evolutionarily unstable, and the extent of genetic robustness contributed from redundancy remains controversial. It is anticipated that, to achieve mutual buffering, the duplicated paralogs must at least share some functional overlap. However, counter-intuitively, several recent studies reported little functional redundancy between these buffering duplicates. The large yeast genetic interactions released recently allowed us to address these issues on a genome-wide scale. We herein characterized the synthetic genetic interactions for ∼500 pairs of yeast duplicated genes originated from either whole-genome duplication (WGD) or small-scale duplication (SSD) events. We established that functional redundancy between duplicates is a pre-requisite and thus is highly predictive of their backup capacity. This observation was particularly pronounced with the use of a newly introduced metric in scoring functional overlap between paralogs on the basis of gene ontology annotations. Even though mutual buffering was observed to be prevalent among duplicated genes, we showed that the observed backup capacity is largely an evolutionarily transient state. The loss of backup capacity generally follows a neutral mode, with the buffering strength decreasing in proportion to divergence time, and the vast majority of the paralogs have already lost their backup capacity. These observations validated previous theoretic predictions about instability of genetic redundancy. However, departing from the general neutral mode, intriguingly, our analysis revealed the presence of natural selection in stabilizing functional overlap between SSD pairs. These selected pairs, both WGD and SSD, tend to have decelerated functional evolution, have higher propensities of co-clustering into the same protein complexes, and share common interacting partners. Our study revealed the general principles for the long-term retention of genetic redundancy.

PMID:
21079672
PMCID:
PMC2973813
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pgen.1001187
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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