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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38958. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038958. Epub 2012 Jun 14.

Molecular trajectories leading to the alternative fates of duplicate genes.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Genetics, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America.

Abstract

Gene duplication generates extra gene copies in which mutations can accumulate without risking the function of pre-existing genes. Such mutations modify duplicates and contribute to evolutionary novelties. However, the vast majority of duplicates appear to be short-lived and experience duplicate silencing within a few million years. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms leading to these alternative fates. Here we delineate differing molecular trajectories of a relatively recent duplication event between humans and chimpanzees by investigating molecular properties of a single duplicate: DNA sequences, gene expression and promoter activities. The inverted duplication of the Glutathione S-transferase Theta 2 (GSTT2) gene had occurred at least 7 million years ago in the common ancestor of African great apes and is preserved in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), whereas a deletion polymorphism is prevalent in humans. The alternative fates are associated with expression divergence between these species, and reduced expression in humans is regulated by silencing mutations that have been propagated between duplicates by gene conversion. In contrast, selective constraint preserved duplicate divergence in chimpanzees. The difference in evolutionary processes left a unique DNA footprint in which dying duplicates are significantly more similar to each other (99.4%) than preserved ones. Such molecular trajectories could provide insights for the mechanisms underlying duplicate life and death in extant genomes.

PMID:
22720000
PMCID:
PMC3375281
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0038958
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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