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Drug Metabol Drug Interact. 2011;26(4):169-79. doi: 10.1515/DMDI.2011.027. Epub 2011 Nov 18.

Variation and evolution of the ABC transporter genes ABCB1, ABCC1, ABCG2, ABCG5 and ABCG8: implication for pharmacogenetics and disease.

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Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Cancer and Inflammation Program, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.


The ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter genes are ubiquitous in the genomes of all vertebrates. Some of these transporters play a key role in xenobiotic defense and are endowed with the capacity to efflux harmful toxic substances. A major role in the evolution of the vertebrate ABC genes is played by gene duplication. Multiple gene duplication and deletion events have been identified in ABC genes, resulting in either gene birth or gene death indicating that the process of gene evolution is still ongoing in this group of transporters. Additionally, polymorphisms in these genes are linked to variations in expression, function, drug disposition and drug response. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the ABC genes may be considered as markers of individual risk for adverse drug reactions or susceptibility to complex diseases as they can uniquely influence the quality and quantity of gene product. As the ABC genes continue to evolve, globalization will yield additional migration and racial admixtures that will have far reaching implications for the pharmacogenetics of this unique family of transporters in the context of human health.

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