Letter abstract


Nature Genetics 40, 676 - 681 (2008)
Published online: 13 April 2008 | Corrected online: 30 April 2008 | doi:10.1038/ng.123

Exposing the fitness contribution of duplicated genes

Alexander DeLuna1, Kalin Vetsigian1, Noam Shoresh1, Matthew Hegreness1, Maritrini Colón-González1, Sharon Chao1 & Roy Kishony1,2

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Duplicate genes from the whole-genome duplication (WGD) in yeast are often dispensable—removing one copy has little or no phenotypic consequence1, 2. It is unknown, however, whether such dispensability reflects insignificance of the ancestral function or compensation from paralogs3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Here, using precise competition-based measurements of the fitness cost of single and double deletions, we estimate the exposed fitness contribution of WGD duplicate genes in metabolism and bound the importance of their ancestral pre-duplication function. We find that the functional overlap between paralogs sufficiently explains the apparent dispensability of individual WGD genes. Furthermore, the lower bound on the fitness value of the ancestral function, which is estimated by the degree of synergistic epistasis, is at least as large as the average fitness cost of deleting single non-WGD genes. These results suggest that most metabolic functions encoded by WGD genes are important today and were also important at the time of duplication.

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  1. Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
  2. School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.

Correspondence to: Roy Kishony1,2 e-mail: roy_kishony@hms.harvard.edu

* The HTML version of the manuscript originally contained several errors in the reference list. These errors have been corrected in the HTML version of the manuscript.

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