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Cell. 1983 Jun;33(2):477-87.

Evolutionary history of a multigene family: an expressed human beta-tubulin gene and three processed pseudogenes.


A 3' untranslated region subclone from a human beta-tubulin cDNA clone has been used to dissect the human beta-tubulin multigene family. Four different beta-tubulin sequences were obtained. One consists of an expressed gene that yields two mRNA species of 1.8 kb and 2.6 kb as a consequence of alternative polyadenylation sites. The three remaining beta-tubulin sequences are all intronless pseudogenes, each containing a 3' poly(A) tract downstream from the poly(A) signal, and each flanked by a different short direct repeat. Two of these sequences were derived by integration into the host germ line of cDNA copies of the 1.8 kb mRNA; the third was derived from the 2.6 kb mRNA. Comparison of the functional and nonfunctional sequences suggests that the integration events took place 4, 10, and 13 million years ago. We anticipate that, in multigene families where germ-line expression occurs, a significant portion of sequences will be accounted for by pseudogenes generated via an RNA intermediate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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