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Genes Cells. 1996 Jun;1(6):493-505.

Introns and gene evolution.

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Biological Laboratories, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


In one scenario of gene evolution, exon shuffling has a fundamental role in increasing gene diversity. As DNA sequences accumulate in the databases, the picture of the intron/exon structures of genes becomes more and more clear. We discuss in this review some features of this picture that suggest that introns have been present since the early stages of evolution, and that exon shuffling was a fundamental process in the construction of ancient as well as modern genes.

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