Origin and Spread of de Novo Genes in Drosophila melanogaster Populations

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Science  23 Jan 2014:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1248286

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Comparative genomic analyses have revealed that genes may arise from ancestrally non-genic sequence. However, the origin and spread of these de novo genes within populations remain obscure. We identified 142 segregating and 106 fixed testis-expressed de novo genes in a population sample of Drosophila melanogaster. These genes appear to derive primarily from ancestral intergenic, unexpressed open reading frames (ORFs), with natural selection playing a significant role in their spread. These results reveal a heretofore-unappreciated dynamism of gene content.

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