Intrachromosomal gene conversion and the maintenance of sequence homogeneity among repeated genes.
Intrachromosomal gene conversion is the non-reciprocal transfer of information between a pair of repeated genes on a single chromosome. This process produces eventual sequence homogeneity within a family of repeated genes. An evolutionary model for a single chromosome lineage was formulated and analyzed. Expressions were derived for the fixation probability, mean time to fixation or loss, and mean conditional fixation time for a variant repeat with an arbitrary initial frequency. It was shown that a small conversional advantage or disadvantage for the variant repeat (higher or lower probability of producing two variant genes by conversion than two wild-type genes) can have a dramatic effect on the probability of fixation. The results imply that intrachromosomal gene conversion can act sufficiently rapidly to be an important mechanism for maintaining sequence homogeneity among repeated genes.
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