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Sep 1998 Molecular biology and evolution

Ancient large-scale genome duplications: phylogenetic and linkage analyses shed light on chordate genome evolution.


Pébusque MJ, Coulier F, Birnbaum D, Pontarotti P


Paralogous genes from several families were found in four human chromosome regions (4p16, 5q33-35, 8p12-21, and 10q24-26), suggesting that their common ancestral region underwent several rounds of large-scale duplication. Searches in the EMBL databases, followed by phylogenetic analyses, showed that cognates (orthologs) of human duplicated genes can be found in other vertebrates, including bony fishes. In contrast, within each family, only one gene showing the same high degree of similarity with all the duplicated mammalian genes was found in nonvertebrates (echinoderms, insects, nematodes). This indicates that large-scale duplications occurred after the echinoderms/chordates split and before the bony vertebrate radiation. It has been suggested that two rounds of gene duplication occurred in the vertebrate lineage after the separation of Amphioxus and craniate (vertebrates + Myxini) ancestors. Before these duplications, the genes that have led to the families of paralogous genes in vertebrates must have been physically linked in the craniate ancestor. Linkage of some of these genes can be found in the Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans genomes, suggesting that they were linked in the triploblast Metazoa ancestor.

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