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Mol Biol Evol. 1985 Jul;2(4):304-20.

Evolution of the mouse beta-globin genes: a recent gene conversion in the Hbbs haplotype.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois, Chicago 60680.


We have determined the complete nucleotide sequence of the two nonallelic adult beta-globin genes of the C57BL/10 mouse. These genes, designated beta s and beta t, show a sequence similarity of 99.6% over the region bordered by the translational start and stop codons. Both beta s and beta t encode functional polypeptide chains that are identical. A comparison of the C57BL/10 beta-globin haplotype, Hbbs, with that of the BALB/c mouse, Hbbd, suggests that the two haplotypes have distinct evolutionary histories. The two adult beta-globin genes of the Hbbd haplotype, beta dmaj and beta dmin, are 16% divergent at the nucleotide level and encode distinct polypeptides that are synthesized in differing amounts. Our analysis indicates that a gene correction mechanism has been operating on the Hbbs chromosome to keep beta s and beta t evolving in concert, whereas on the Hbbd chromosome, beta dmin has diverged considerably from beta dmaj. We suggest that gene conversion is responsible for the maintained similarity of the Hbbs genes. Furthermore, we attribute the divergence of the Hbbd genes in part to the absence of a region of simple-sequence DNA within the large intervening sequence of beta dmin. We propose that this region of DNA plays a role in facilitating gene conversion. The deletion of this area in beta dmin introduced a block of nonhomology between the beta dmaj-beta dmin gene pair and thus may have inhibited further gene correction within the Hbbd haplotype.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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