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 Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>