Gene Duplication: Evolution


Gene duplication is the major source of genetic novelties, because a duplicate copy may be free to change to a new function. Indeed, genome sequencing and statistical analyses have revealed that each eukaryotic genome contain numerous duplicate genes. Furthermore, there is evidence that a genome duplication occurred in the common ancestor of vertebrates and this might has been important for the diversification and organismal complexity of vertebrates.

Keywords: duplicate genes; regional duplication; genome duplication; gene family; superfamily; isozymes; new function

Figure 1.

Evolutionary history of human globin genes. The broken line denotes a pseudogene. Only one of the two α‐globin genes is shown in the figure, because the date of their divergence from each other is uncertain. (Reproduced with permission from Li and Graur ())



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Further Reading

Chatterji S and Pachter L (2007) Patterns of gene duplication and intron loss in the ENCODE regions suggest a confounding factor. Genomics 90: 44–48.

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Li WH, Yang J and Gu X (2005) Expression divergence between duplicate genes. Trends Genetics 21: 602–607.

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Li, Wen‐Hsiung(Dec 2007) Gene Duplication: Evolution. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005096.pub2]