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Drosophila duplicate genes evolve new functions on the fly.

Authors
  • Assis, Raquel
Type
Published Article
Journal
Fly
Publisher
Landes Bioscience
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
Volume
8
Issue
2
Pages
91–94
Identifiers
DOI: 10.4161/fly.29131
PMID: 25483247
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Gene duplication is thought to play a key role in phenotypic innovation. While several processes have been hypothesized to drive the retention and functional evolution of duplicate genes, their genomic contributions have never been determined. We recently developed the first genome-wide method to classify these processes by comparing distances between expression profiles of duplicate genes and their ancestral single-copy orthologs. Application of our approach to spatial gene expression profiles in two Drosophila species revealed that a majority of young duplicate genes possess new functions, and that new functions are acquired rapidly-often within a few million years. Surprisingly, new functions tend to arise in younger copies of duplicate gene pairs. Moreover, we found that young duplicates are often specifically expressed in testes, whereas old duplicates are broadly expressed across several tissues, providing strong support for the hypothetical "out-of-testes" origin of new genes. In this Extra View, I discuss our findings in the context of theoretical predictions about gene duplication, with a particular emphasis on the importance of natural selection in the evolution of novel phenotypes.

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