Natural selection and the origin of jingwei, a chimeric processed functional gene in Drosophila

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Science  02 Apr 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5104, pp. 91-95
DOI: 10.1126/science.7682012


The origin of new genes includes both the initial molecular events and subsequent population dynamics. A processed Drosophila alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh) gene, previously thought to be a pseudogene, provided an opportunity to examine the two phases of the origin of a new gene. The sequence of the processed Adh messenger RNA became part of a new functional gene by capturing several upstream exons and introns of an unrelated gene. This novel chimeric gene, jingwei, differs from its parent Adh gene in both its pattern of expression and rate of molecular evolution. Natural selection participated in the origin and subsequent evolution of this gene.

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