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posted 06. January 2005 22:30
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Published online before print December 13, 2004, 10.1073/pnas.0408118101
PNAS | December 28, 2004 | vol. 101 | no. 52 | 18058-18063
Molecular origins of rapid and continuous morphological evolution
John W. Fondon, III * and Harold R. Garner
Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development and Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-8591
Communicated by Marc W. Kirschner, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, November 2, 2004 (received for review August 30, 2004)
Extract from Abstract
Mutations in cis-regulatory sequences have been implicated as being the predominant source of variation in morphological evolution. We offer a hypothesis that gene-associated tandem repeat expansions and contractions are a major source of phenotypic variation in evolution. Here, we describe a comparative genomic study of repetitive elements in developmental genes of 92 breeds of dogs. We find evidence for selection for divergence at coding repeat loci in the form of both elevated purity and extensive length polymorphism among different breeds.
The high frequency and incremental effects of repeat length mutations provide molecular explanations for swift, yet topologically conservative morphological evolution.
Abstract at National Academy of Sciences
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