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J Mol Biol. 1988 Sep 20;203(2):439-55.

Embryonic epsilon and gamma globin genes of a prosimian primate (Galago crassicaudatus). Nucleotide and amino acid sequences, developmental regulation and phylogenetic footprints.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201.


Sequence analysis of epsilon and gamma genes and encoded globins and high-pressure liquid chromatography analysis of globin compositions in blood hemolysates obtained from embryos, fetuses and adults show that the prosimian primate Galago crassicaudatus expresses its epsilon and gamma genes only embryonically. Since rabbit, mouse and galago all have embryonic gamma genes but simian primates have fetal gamma genes, we conclude that gamma E evolved into gamma F in stem-simians. An elevated non-synonymous substitution rate characterizes this transition. The alignment of epsilon and gamma nucleotide sequences and the parsimoniously reconstructed evolutionary history of these sequences identify several anciently conserved cis-regulatory elements (phylogenetic footprints) important for gamma expression in primates and also cis-mutations which may have been involved in the recruitment of the gamma gene to a fetal program in simian primates.

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