The evolution of a complex eucaryotic gene.
Two thirds of the natural chicken ovomucoid gene has been sequenced, including all exons and the intron sequences surrounding all fourteen intron/exon junctions. The junctions sequences surrounding four of the introns are redundant: however, the sequences surrounding the other three introns contain no redundancies and thus the splicing sites at either end of these three introns are unambiguous. The splicing in all cases conforms to the GT-AG rule. We compare the structural organization of the ovomucoid gene with the ovomucoid protein sequence to examine theories of the evolution of ovomucoids as well as the origin of intervening sequences. This analysis suggests that the present ovomucoid gene evolved from a primordia ovomucoid gene by two separate intragenic duplications. Furthermore, sequence analyses suggest that introns were present in the primordial ovomucoid gene before birds and mammals diverged, about 300 million years ago. Finally, the positions of the introns within the ovomucoid gene support the theory that introns separate gene segments that code for functional domains of proteins and provide insight on the manner by which eucaryotic genes were constructed during the process of evolution.
O'Malley, BW; Stein, JP; Means, AR
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