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Gene. 1998 Jul 3;214(1-2):59-66.

The four cdc25 genes from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

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ABL-Basic Research Program, Gene Regulation, Chromosome Biology Laboratory, PO Box B, Building 539, National Cancer Institute-Frederick Cancer Research, Development Center, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.


During eukaryotic evolution, multicellular organisms have evolved multiple members of gene families that may display unique, partially overlapping, or redundant functions during development. More than 75% of the C. elegans genome has been sequenced, which represents approximately 95% of the coding sequences. This provides a unique opportunity to identify most, if not all, of the members of a given gene family. We have searched the C. elegans genome database for members of a key family of cell cycle regulators, the CDC25 phosphatases, and have identified four genes. The four C. elegans genes represent a larger family within a single organism than has been reported so far in Drosophila, mice and humans. An amino acid comparison revealed a high degree of similarity and identity within the phosphatase domain. This analysis also identified an expanded consensus sequence that can be used to discover new members of the CDC25 phosphatase family. However, the four C. elegans sequences display a few novel amino acid substitutions in the residues surrounding the invariant catalytic motif CX5R. These data demonstrate the value of genome database searching for identifying new members of known gene families, understanding genetic diversity, and for studying gene structure.

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