Intron and gene size expansion during nervous system evolution
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KeywordGenome evolution; Gene size; Intron size; Nervous system evolution; Long genes; Long introns
Background The evolutionary radiation of animals was accompanied by extensive expansion of gene and genome sizes, increased isoform diversity, and complexity of regulation. Results Here we show that the longest genes are enriched for expression in neuronal tissues of diverse vertebrates and of invertebrates. Additionally, we show that neuronal gene size expansion occurred predominantly through net gains in intron size, with a positional bias toward the 5′ end of each gene. Conclusions We find that intron and gene size expansion is a feature of many genes whose expression is enriched in nervous systems. We speculate that unique attributes of neurons may subject neuronal genes to evolutionary forces favoring net size expansion. This process could be associated with tissue-specific constraints on gene function and/or the evolution of increasingly complex gene regulation in nervous systems.
© The Author(s), 2020. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in McCoy, M. J., & Fire, A. Z. Intron and gene size expansion during nervous system evolution. BMC Genomics, 21(1), (2020): 360, doi:10.1186/s12864-020-6760-4.
Suggested CitationMcCoy, M. J., & Fire, A. Z. (2020). Intron and gene size expansion during nervous system evolution. BMC Genomics, 21(1), 360.
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