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Open Access Research article

Recombination facilitates neofunctionalization of duplicate genes via originalization

Cheng Xue12*, Ren Huang12, Shu-Qun Liu3 and Yun-Xin Fu34

Author Affiliations

1 GuangDong Institute for Monitoring Laboratory Animals, Guangzhou, China

2 Key Laboratory of Laboratory Animals in GuangDong, Guangzhou, China

3 Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Bio-resources, Yunnan University, Yunnan, China

4 Human Genetics Center, School of Public Health, University of Texas at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA

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BMC Genetics 2010, 11:46  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-11-46

Published: 9 June 2010



Recently originalization was proposed to be an effective way of duplicate-gene preservation, in which recombination provokes the high frequency of original (or wild-type) allele on both duplicated loci. Because the high frequency of wild-type allele might drive the arising and accumulating of advantageous mutation, it is hypothesized that recombination might enlarge the probability of neofunctionalization (Pneo) of duplicate genes. In this article this hypothesis has been tested theoretically.


Results show that through originalization recombination might not only shorten mean time to neofunctionalizaiton, but also enlarge Pneo.


Therefore, recombination might facilitate neofunctionalization via originalization. Several extensive applications of these results on genomic evolution have been discussed: 1. Time to nonfunctionalization can be much longer than a few million generations expected before; 2. Homogenization on duplicated loci results from not only gene conversion, but also originalization; 3. Although the rate of advantageous mutation is much small compared with that of degenerative mutation, Pneo cannot be expected to be small.