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Gene-Family Extension Measures and Correlations
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Ultra Large Gene Families: A Matter of Adaptation or Genomic Parasites?

1
Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, Köln 50674, Germany
2
Division of Biosciences, GEE, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alexander Bolshoy
Received: 9 May 2016 / Revised: 27 June 2016 / Accepted: 20 July 2016 / Published: 8 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Evolution of Genome)
Gene duplication is an important mechanism of molecular evolution. It offers a fast track to modification, diversification, redundancy or rescue of gene function. However, duplication may also be neutral or (slightly) deleterious, and often ends in pseudo-geneisation. Here, we investigate the phylogenetic distribution of ultra large gene families on long and short evolutionary time scales. In particular, we focus on a family of NACHT-domain and leucine-rich-repeat-containing (NLR)-genes, which we previously found in large numbers to occupy one chromosome arm of the zebrafish genome. We were interested to see whether such a tight clustering is characteristic for ultra large gene families. Our data reconfirm that most gene family inflations are lineage-specific, but we can only identify very few gene clusters. Based on our observations we hypothesise that, beyond a certain size threshold, ultra large gene families continue to proliferate in a mechanism we term “run-away evolution”. This process might ultimately lead to the failure of genomic integrity and drive species to extinction. View Full-Text
Keywords: gene family; genome evolution; adaptation; neutral evolution; selection; NLR-genes; run-away-evolution; gene clusters gene family; genome evolution; adaptation; neutral evolution; selection; NLR-genes; run-away-evolution; gene clusters
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schiffer, P.H.; Gravemeyer, J.; Rauscher, M.; Wiehe, T. Ultra Large Gene Families: A Matter of Adaptation or Genomic Parasites? Life 2016, 6, 32. https://doi.org/10.3390/life6030032

AMA Style

Schiffer PH, Gravemeyer J, Rauscher M, Wiehe T. Ultra Large Gene Families: A Matter of Adaptation or Genomic Parasites? Life. 2016; 6(3):32. https://doi.org/10.3390/life6030032

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schiffer, Philipp H., Jan Gravemeyer, Martina Rauscher, and Thomas Wiehe. 2016. "Ultra Large Gene Families: A Matter of Adaptation or Genomic Parasites?" Life 6, no. 3: 32. https://doi.org/10.3390/life6030032

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