The early stages of duplicate gene evolution

Richard C. Moore, Michael D. Purugganan

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Abstract

Gene duplications are one of the primary driving forces in the evolution of genomes and genetic systems. Gene duplicates account for 8-20% of the genes in eukaryotic genomes and the rates of gene duplication are estimated at between 0.2% and 2% per gene per million years. Duplicate genes are believed to be a major mechanism for the establishment of new gene functions and the generation of evolutionary novelty, yet very little is known about the early stages of the evolution of duplicated gene pairs. It is unclear, for example, to what extent selection, rather than neutral genetic drift, drives the fixation and early evolution of duplicate loci. Analysis of recently duplicated genes in the Arabidopsis thaliana genome reveals significantly reduced species-wide levels of nucleotide polymorphisms in the progenitor and/or duplicate gene copies, suggesting that selective sweeps accompany the initial stages of the evolution of these duplicated gene pairs. Our results support recent theoretical work that indicates that fates of duplicate gene pairs may be determined in the initial phases of duplicate gene evolution and that positive selection plays a prominent role in the evolutionary dynamics of the very early histories of duplicate nuclear genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15682-15687
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume100
Issue number26
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 23 2003

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