Spliceosomal introns, one of the hallmarks of eukaryotic genomes, were thought to have originated late in evolution1,2 and were assumed not to exist in eukaryotes that diverged early — until the discovery of a single intron with an aberrant splice boundary in the primitive 'protozoan' Giardia3. Here we describe introns from a close relative of Giardia, Carpediemonas membranifera, that have boundary sequences of the normal eukaryotic type, indicating that canonical introns are likely to have arisen very early in eukaryotic evolution.
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The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Analysis of the Functional Relevance of Epigenetic Chromatin Marks in the First Intron Associated with Specific Gene Expression Patterns
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