Yeast genome duplication was followed by asynchronous differentiation of duplicated genes


Gene redundancy has been observed in yeast, plant and human genomes, and is thought to be a consequence of whole-genome duplications1,2,3. Baker's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, contains several hundred duplicated genes1. Duplication(s) could have occurred before or after a given speciation. To understand the evolution of the yeast genome, we analysed orthologues of some of these genes in several related yeast species. On the basis of the inferred phylogeny of each set of genes, we were able to deduce whether the gene duplicated and/or specialized before or after the divergence of two yeast lineages. Here we show that the gene duplications might have occurred as a single event, and that it probably took place before the Saccharomyces and Kluyveromyces lineages diverged from each other. Further evolution of each duplicated gene pair—such as specialization or differentiation of the two copies, or deletion of a single copy—has taken place independently throughout the evolution of these species.

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Figure 1: Phylogenetic relationship among different yeasts and among genes homologous to the duplicated S. cerevisiae genes.
Figure 2: The origins of the modern yeast genomes.


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We thank the laboratories of C. Gaillardin and M. Bolotin-Fukuhara for providing E. coli clones containing genomic yeast DNA, which were partially sequenced by the Génolevures project. We thank K. H. Wolfe and his co-workers for sharing their manuscripts before publication. Sequencing of Candida albicans was accomplished with the support of the NIDR and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. This work was partially supported by the Danish Research Council.

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Correspondence to Jure Piškur.

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LangkjAEr, R., Cliften, P., Johnston, M. et al. Yeast genome duplication was followed by asynchronous differentiation of duplicated genes. Nature 421, 848–852 (2003).

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