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PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e25290. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025290. Epub 2011 Sep 22.

A test of the coordinated expression hypothesis for the origin and maintenance of the GAL cluster in yeast.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and The Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States of America.


Metabolic gene clusters--functionally related and physically clustered genes--are a common feature of some eukaryotic genomes. Two hypotheses have been advanced to explain the origin and maintenance of metabolic gene clusters: coordinated gene expression and genetic linkage. Here we test the hypothesis that selection for coordinated gene expression underlies the clustering of GAL genes in the yeast genome. We find that, although clustering coordinates the expression of GAL1 and GAL10, disrupting the GAL cluster does not impair fitness, suggesting that other mechanisms, such as genetic linkage, drive the origin and maintenance metabolic gene clusters.

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