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Mol Biol Evol. 2017 Dec 1;34(12):3254-3266. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msx264.

Genetic Interaction Network as an Important Determinant of Gene Order in Genome Evolution.

Yang YF1,2,3, Cao W1,2,3, Wu S1,2,3, Qian W1,2,3.

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State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
Key Laboratory of Genetic Network Biology, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


Although it is generally accepted that eukaryotic gene order is not random, the basic principles of gene arrangement on a chromosome remain poorly understood. Here, we extended existing population genetics theories that were based on two-locus models and proposed a hypothesis that genetic interaction networks drive the evolution of eukaryotic gene order. We predicted that genes with positive epistasis would move toward each other in evolution, during which a negative correlation between epistasis and gene distance formed. We tested and confirmed our prediction with computational simulations and empirical data analyses. Importantly, we demonstrated that gene order in the budding yeast could be successfully predicted from the genetic interaction network. Taken together, our study reveals the role of the genetic interaction network in the evolution of gene order, extends our understanding of the encoding principles in genomes, and potentially offers new strategies to improve synthetic biology.


fitness; gene order; genetic interaction network; genetic recombination; yeast

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