Process and Pattern in Evolution

By Charlotte J. Avers | Go to book overview

general absence of correspondence between C values and evolutionary rankings (C value paradox). A large fraction of the eukaryotic genome consists of noncoding DNA, in introns within genes and in spacers between genes, whose functions remain unclear for the most part. Split genes are made up of exons, which are coding segments that usually specify functional or structural domains in proteins, and introns, which are noncoding sequences between exons. It is possible that split gene organization is of great antiquity. If this is true, introns have been lost in prokaryotes and from many genes in simple eukaryotes, but have been retained during evolution leading to the most highly evolved plants and animals. Intronless DNA can be replicated rapidly, an advantage in prokaryotes and simple eukaryotes. Split genes take longer to be replicated, but they provide the potential for exon shuffling and thus for more rapid evolution of proteins than by mutation alone.


References and Additional Readings

Alexander, F., P. R. Young, and S. M. Tilghman. 1984. "Evolution of the albumin: α- fetoprotein ancestral gene from the amplification of a 27-nucleotide sequence". Jour. Mol. Biol. 173:159.

Almassy, R. J., and R. E. Dickerson. 1978. "Pseudomonas cytochrome c55, at 2.0 Å resolution: enlargement of the cytochrome c family". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S. 75:2674.

Antoine, M., and J. Niessing. 1984. "Intron-less globin genes in the insect Chironomus thummi thummi". Nature 310:795.

Attardi, G. et al. 1986. "Seven unidentified reading frames of human mitochondrial DNA encode subunits of the respiratory chain NADH dehydrogenase". Cold Spring Harbor Sympos. Quant. Biol. 51:103.

Blake, C. C. F. 1984. "Exons and the evolution of proteins". Trends Biochem. Sci. 8:11.

Brandon, C.-I. et al. 1984. "Correlation of exons with structural domains in alcohol dehydrogenase". EMBO Jour. 3:1307.

Brimacombe, R. 1984. "Conservation of structure in ribosomal RNA". Trends Biochem. Sci. 9:273.

Cavalier-Smith, T. 1975. "The origin of nuclei and of eukaryotic cells". Nature 256:463.

Cavalier-Smith, T. 1987. "The origin of cells: a symbiosis between genes, catalysts, and membranes". Cold Spring Harbor Sympos. Quant. Biol. 52:805.

Cavalier-Smith, T., ed. 1985. The Evolution of Genome Size. New York: Wiley.

Chambon, P. 1981. "Split genes". Sci. Amer. 244( 5):60.

Darnell, J. E. 1983. "The processing of RNA". Sci. Amer. 249( 4):90.

de B. Crombrugghe, and I. Pastan. 1982. "Structure and regulation of a collagen gene". Trends Biochem. Sci. 7:11.

Doolittle, R. F. 1985. "Proteins". Sci. Amer. 253 ( 4):88.

Doolittle, W. F. 1980. "Revolutionary concepts in evolutionary cell biology". Trends Biochem. Sci. 5:146.

Doolittle, W. F. 1987. "What introns have to tell us: hierarchy in genome evolution". Cold Spring Harbor Sympos. Quant. Biol. 52:907.

Dover, G. A., and R. B. Flavell, eds. 1982. Genome Evolution. New York: Academic Press.

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