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Mol Biol Evol. 1986 Nov;3(6):465-84.

Nucleotide sequence analysis of the lemur beta-globin gene family: evidence for major rate fluctuations in globin polypeptide evolution.

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Department of Genetics, University of Leicester.


Lemur beta-related globin genes have been isolated and sequenced. Orthology of prosimian and human epsilon-, gamma-, and beta-related globin genes was established by dot-matrix analysis. All of these lemur globin genes potentially encode functional beta-related globin polypeptides, though precisely when the gamma-globin gene is expressed remains unknown. The organization of the 18-kb brown lemur beta-globin gene cluster (5' epsilon-gamma-[psi eta-delta]-beta 3') is consistent with its evolution by contraction via unequal crossing-over from the putative ancestral mammalian beta-globin gene cluster (5' epsilon-gamma-eta-delta-beta 3'). The dwarf lemur nonadult globin genes are arranged as in the brown lemur. Similar levels of synonymous (silent) nucleotide substitutions and noncoding DNA sequence differences have accumulated between species in all of these genes, suggesting a uniform rate of noncoding DNA divergence throughout primate beta-globin gene clusters. These differences are comparable with those observed in the nonfunctional psi eta pseudogene and have therefore accumulated at the presumably maximal neutral rate. In contrast, nonsynonymous (replacement) nucleotide substitutions show a significant heterogeneity in distribution for both the same gene in different lineages and different genes in the same lineage. These major fluctuations in replacement but not silent substitution rates cannot be attributed to changes in mutation rate, suggesting that changes in the rate of globin polypeptide evolution in primates is not governed solely by variable mutation rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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