Multigene Families: Evolution


Groups of genes showing similarity with each other are referred to as a gene family, arising from wholesale or partial gene duplication. The clustering of functionally related members of a gene family reflects their common ancestry and subsequent duplication and divergence. It has been speculated that gene duplication is essential for the creation of major evolutionary novelty. Genome projects will help in understanding the importance of gene duplications underlying macroevolutionary events.

Keywords: paralogous genes; orthologous genes; pseudogenes; processed pseudogenes; concerted evolution

Figure 1.

Order and arrangement of the human globin genes. (a) α globin cluster, human chromosome 16; (b) β globin cluster, human chromosome 11. Coloured boxes represent functional genes, white boxes are pseudogenes.


Further Reading

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How to Cite close
Walsh, J Bruce, and Stephan, Wolfgang(Apr 2008) Multigene Families: Evolution. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001702.pub2]