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Evidence for widespread reticulate evolution within human duplicons

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Michael Jackson, Kathryn Creighton, Dr Mauro Santibanez Koref


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Approximately 5% of the human genome consists of segmental duplications that can cause genomic mutations and may play a role in gene innovation. Reticulate evolutionary processes, such as unequal crossing-over and gene conversion, are known to occur within specific duplicon families, but the broader contribution of these processes to the evolution of human duplications remains poorly characterized. Here, we use phylogenetic profiling to analyze multiple alignments of 24 human duplicon families that span >8 Mb of DNA. Our results indicate that none of them are evolving independently, with all alignments showing sharp discontinuities in phylogenetic signal consistent with reticulation. To analyze these results in more detail, we have developed a quartet method that estimates the relative contribution of nucleotide substitution and reticulate processes to sequence evolution. Our data indicate that most of the duplications show a highly significant excess of sites consistent with reticulate evolution, compared with the number expected by nucleotide substitution alone, with 15 of 30 alignments showing a >20-fold excess over that expected. Using permutation tests, we also show that at least 5% of the total sequence shares 100% sequence identity because of reticulation, a figure that includes 74 independent tracts of perfect identity >2 kb in length. Furthermore, analysis of a subset of alignments indicates that the density of reticulation events is as high as 1 every 4 kb. These results indicate that phylogenetic relationships within recently duplicated human DNA can be rapidly disrupted by reticulate evolution. This finding has important implications for efforts to finish the human genome sequence, complicates comparative sequence analysis of duplicon families, and could profoundly influence the tempo of gene-family evolution. © 2005 by The American Society of Human Genetics. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jackson MS, Oliver K, Loveland J, Humphray S, Dunham I, Rocchi M, Viggiano L, Park JP, Hurles ME, Santibanez-Koref M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Human Genetics

Year: 2005

Volume: 77

Issue: 5

Pages: 824-840

ISSN (print): 0002-9297

ISSN (electronic): 1537-6605

Publisher: Cell Press


DOI: 10.1086/497704

PubMed id: 16252241


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