Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

When siblings grow apart

01.03.2010
Characterization of changes acquired by gene pairs over time reveals principles underlying evolution of gene function

The genomes of higher organisms generally contain numerous genes originating from duplication events. In many cases, the resulting gene pairs maintain essentially parallel functions over the course of evolution, as demonstrated recently by Kousuke Hanada and colleagues from the RIKEN Plant Science Center in Yokohama.

Working with thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana), the investigators found that evolution often tends to select for duplications that build redundancy into the genome, shielding organisms from potentially disastrous effects of function-altering mutations1. However, this doesn’t tell the full story about gene duplication.

“Knocking out either of two duplicate genes sometimes induces totally different phenotypes, indicating that the two copies have different functions,” says Hanada. This speaks to a process of ‘functionalization’, in which the two duplicate genes either evolve distinct functional profiles or else divide up the functions of the original, pre-duplication gene. Hanada and colleagues have now subjected A. thaliana to further analysis in order to better understand the molecular and evolutionary basis of this ‘morphological diversification’2.

Gene function can be altered either through changes to the encoded protein sequence or modifications to their expression behavior. The researchers began by assessing these characteristics in 398 gene pairs that had undergone functionalization relative to 94 pairs that had not, using sequence and expression data from the published literature and publicly available gene expression databases.

As expected, sequence and expression variability were both found to be significantly higher within gene pairs that had undergone some degree of functionalization. However, there was also a striking difference in the relative contribution of these factors to morphological diversification. “Our analysis suggested that changes [in] expression pattern play the minor role—between 33 and 41%—and that changes [in] protein sequence play the major role—between 59 and 67%,” says Hanada. “This result is most surprising; most people believed that changes in expression pattern play the major role because such changes are essential for development.”

The investigators are now keen to apply their classification strategy to other organisms, including the fruit fly and mouse, in an effort to determine whether similar evolutionary patterns exist. “I expect that changes of expression pattern are more important in complex organisms than simple organisms, but I do not know the real answer yet,” says Hanada. Collectively, the resulting data could inform development of tools that enable scientists to better understand the evolution of gene function based on observed sequence and expression changes.

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Gene Discovery Research Group, RIKEN Plant Science Center

1. Hanada, K., Kuromori, T., Myouga, F., Toyoda, T., Li, W.-H. & Shinozaki, K. Evolutionary persistence of functional compensation by duplicate genes in Arabidopsis. Genome Biology and Evolution 409, 409–414 (2009).

2. Hanada, K., Kuromori, T., Myouga, F., Toyoda, T. & Shinozaki, K. Increased expression and protein divergence in duplicate genes is associated with morphological diversification. PLoS Genetics 5, e1000781 (2009)

Saeko Okada | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/eng/research/6189
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bare bones: Making bones transparent
27.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>