Why are gene duplications, such as those in the Hox loci, often associated with evolutionary divergence?

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Two copies of a gene means twice as much gene product; as a result, rate limitations are relaxed and the organism can evolve a new body plan.

Gene duplications arise in response to natural selection for diversification within a lineage. When a new species needs a new gene to adapt to a novel environment, it can produce a gene duplication to enable its adaptation.

Gene duplications arise through hybridization of two species, giving rise to a new species; the combined genome carries two copies of a gene instead of one.

When there is only one copy of a gene, natural selection may purge a mutation, preventing it from performing a new function. Selection on the second copy may be relaxed because the first copy is producing all necessary gene products. Mutations conferring new properties may accumulate in the second copy.

 

asked Dec 28, 2012 in Biology by anonymous
    

1 Answer

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When there is only one copy of a gene, natural selection may purge a mutation, preventing it from performing a new function. Selection on the second copy may be relaxed because the first copy is producing all necessary gene products. Mutations conferring new properties may accumulate in the second copy.

 

answered Dec 28, 2012 by anonymous

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