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Number of duplicated genes, adaptation appear to be linked

Date:
April 15, 2014
Source:
Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press)
Summary:
Liken it to a case of where two genes are better than one. Scientists have found a class of genes, called small-scale duplication genes, or SSDs, that are important for adapting to novel environments and surviving environmental changes.
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Liken it to a case of where two genes are better than one. Scientists have found a class of genes, called small-scale duplication genes, or SSDs, that are important for adapting to novel environments and surviving environmental changes.

Published in the advanced online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution, authors Takashi Makino, Masakado Kawata, et al., were the first to examine more than 30 fully sequenced vertebrate genomes to look at SSDs as genetic signposts that correlated with habitat variability. SSDs have been generated continually during evolution, and are not the result of an ancient gene duplication, where mammals experienced a whole genome duplication twice in the very early history of vertebrate evolution, hundreds of Mya. Sometimes the duplicate genes are lost, but in other instances, new functions occur and are thought to be a major driver of evolution through adaptive innovation.

The research team found, in general, the higher the number of SSD genes found within a species, the better they were able to adapt to a habitat. By contrast, they speculate that species that lose SSD genes might not be able to generate enough variation to adapt. These findings suggest a new way for scientists to use SSD's as an index to project species survival, and whether a giving species may be more susceptible to becoming endangered or better able to fend off environmental changes.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. C. Tamate, M. Kawata, T. Makino. Contribution of non-ohnologous duplicated genes to high habitat variability in mammals. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 2014; DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msu128

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Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). "Number of duplicated genes, adaptation appear to be linked." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415181330.htm>.
Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). (2014, April 15). Number of duplicated genes, adaptation appear to be linked. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415181330.htm
Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). "Number of duplicated genes, adaptation appear to be linked." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415181330.htm (accessed May 25, 2015).

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