Nature Reviews Genetics 8, 762-775 (October 2007) | doi:10.1038/nrg2193

Gene conversion: mechanisms, evolution and human disease

Jian-Min Chen1,2, David N. Cooper3, Nadia Chuzhanova4, Claude Férec1,2,5,6 & George P. Patrinos7  About the authors


Gene conversion, one of the two mechanisms of homologous recombination, involves the unidirectional transfer of genetic material from a 'donor' sequence to a highly homologous 'acceptor'. Considerable progress has been made in understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie gene conversion, its formative role in human genome evolution and its implications for human inherited disease. Here we assess current thinking about how gene conversion occurs, explore the key part it has played in fashioning extant human genes, and carry out a meta-analysis of gene-conversion events that are known to have caused human genetic disease.

Author affiliations

  1. INSERM, U613, 29220 Brest, France.
  2. Etablissement Français du Sang — Bretagne, 46 rue Félix Le Dantec, 29220 Brest, France.
  3. Institute of Medical Genetics, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN, UK.
  4. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE, UK.
  5. Faculté de Médecine de Brest et des Sciences de la Santé, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, 29238 Brest, France.
  6. Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire et d'Histocompatibilité, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Brest, Hôpital Morvan, 29220 Brest, France.
  7. Erasmus University Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, MGC-Department of Cell Biology and Genetics, PO BOX 2040, 3000 CA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Correspondence to: Jian-Min Chen1,2 Email:

Correspondence to: George P. Patrinos7 Email:

Published online 11 September 2007


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