Gene Families: Formation and Evolution


A gene family is a set of genes derived by duplication of an ancestral gene. Various gene families, from small to large and from uniform to diverse, reflect effects of natural selection, random genetic drift and molecular mechanisms of gene duplication.

Keywords: evolution of new function; gene duplication; genetic regulatory system; genomic complexity; drift; selection

Further Reading

Eickbush TH and Eickbush DG (2007) Finely orchestrated movements: evolution of the ribosomal RNA genes. Genetics 175: 477–485.

Hughes AL and Nei M (1988) Pattern of nucleotide substitution at major histocompatibility complex class‐I loci reveals overdominant selection. Nature 335: 167–170.

Li W‐H (1997) Molecular Evolution. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates Incorporated.

Long M, Betran E, Thornton K and Wang W (2003) The origin of new genes: glimpses from the young and old. Nature Reviews Genetics 4: 865–875.

Ludwig MZ, Bergman C, Patel NH and Kreitman M (2000) Evidence for stabilizing selection in a eukaryotic enhancer element. Nature 403: 564–567.

Lynch M and Force A (2000) The probability of duplicate gene preservation by subfunctionalization. Genetics 154: 459–473.

Ohno S (1970) Evolution by Gene Duplication. Berlin: Springer.

Ohta T (1983) On the evolution of multigene families. Theoretical Population Biology 23: 216–240.

Ohta T (1991) Multigene families and the evolution of complexity. Journal of Molecular Evolution 33: 34–41.

Shakhnovich BE and Koonin EV (2006) Origins and impact of constraints in evolution of gene families. Genome Research 16: 1529–1536.

The ENCODE Project Consortium (2007) Identification and analysis of functional elements in 1% of the human genome by the ENCODE pilot project. Nature 447: 799–816.

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How to Cite close
Ohta, Tomoko(Mar 2008) Gene Families: Formation and Evolution. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005125.pub2]