Natural history and evolutionary principles of gene duplication in fungi

Ilan Wapinski, Avi Pfeffer, Nir Friedman, Aviv Regev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

512 Scopus citations


Gene duplication and loss is a powerful source of functional innovation. However, the general principles that govern this process are still largely unknown. With the growing number of sequenced genomes, it is now possible to examine these events in a comprehensive and unbiased manner. Here, we develop a procedure that resolves the evolutionary history of all genes in a large group of species. We apply our procedure to seventeen fungal genomes to create a genome-wide catalogue of gene trees that determine precise orthology and paralogy relations across these species. We show that gene duplication and loss is highly constrained by the functional properties and interacting partners of genes. In particular, stress-related genes exhibit many duplications and losses, whereas growth-related genes show selection against such changes. Whole-genome duplication circumvents this constraint and relaxes the dichotomy, resulting in an expanded functional scope of gene duplication. By characterizing the functional fate of duplicate genes we show that duplicated genes rarely diverge with respect to biochemical function, but typically diverge with respect to regulatory control. Surprisingly, paralogous modules of genes rarely arise, even after whole-genome duplication. Rather, gene duplication may drive the modularization of functional networks through specialization, thereby disentangling cellular systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)54-61
Number of pages8
Issue number7158
StatePublished - 6 Sep 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements A.R. was supported by a Career Award at the Scientific Interface from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and by NIGMS. N.F. was supported by the Israel Science Foundation. We thank E. S. Lander for discussions and D. Peer, A. Tanay and O. Rando for their comments on previous drafts of this manuscript. We are also grateful to the members of the FAS Center and the Broad Institute for their scientific and technical support, especially A. Daneau, M. Ethier and B. Mantenuto.


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