Maintenance of duplicate genes and their functional redundancy by reduced expression.

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
Trends in Genetics (Impact Factor: 11.6). 10/2010; 26(10):425-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.tig.2010.07.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although evolutionary theories predict functional divergence between duplicate genes, many old duplicates still maintain a high degree of functional similarity and are synthetically lethal or sick, an observation that has puzzled many geneticists. We propose that expression reduction, a special type of subfunctionalization, facilitates the retention of duplicates and the conservation of their ancestral functions. Consistent with this hypothesis, gene expression data from both yeasts and mammals show a substantial decrease in the level of gene expression after duplication. Whereas the majority of the expression reductions are likely to be neutral, some are apparently beneficial to rebalancing gene dosage after duplication.

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