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A segmental genomic duplication generates a functional intron.

  • Author(s): Hellsten, Uffe;
  • Aspden, Julie;
  • RIO, Donald C.;
  • Rokhsar, Daniel
  • et al.

An intron is an extended genomic feature whose function requires multiple constrained positions-donor and acceptor splice sites, a branch point, a polypyrimidine tract and suitable splicing enhancers-that may be distributed over hundreds or thousands of nucleotides. New introns are therefore unlikely to emerge by incremental accumulation of functional sub-elements. Here we demonstrate that a functional intron can be created de novo in a single step by a segmental genomic duplication. This experiment recapitulates in vivo the birth of an intron that arose in the ancestral jawed vertebrate lineage nearly half-a-billion years ago.

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