The origin of subfunctions and modular gene regulation

Allan Force, William A. Cresko, F. Bryan Pickett, Steven R. Proulx, Chris Amemiya, Michael Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

85 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Evolutionary explanations for the origin of modularity in genetic and developmental pathways generally assume that modularity confers a selective advantage. However, our results suggest that even in the absence of any direct selective advantage, genotypic modularity may increase through the formation of new subfunctions under near-neutral processes. Two subfunctions may be formed from a single ancestral subfunction by the process of fission. Subfunction fission occurs when multiple functions under unified genetic control become subdivided into more restricted functions under independent genetic control. Provided that population size is sufficiently small, random genetic drift and mutation can conspire to produce changes in the number of subfunctions in the genome of a species without necessarily altering the phenotype. Extensive genotypic modularity may then accrue in a near-neutral fashion in permissive population-genetic environments, potentially opening novel pathways to morphological evolution. Many aspects of gene complexity in multicellular eukaryotes may have arisen passively as population size reductions accompanied increases in organism size, with the adaptive exploitation of such complexity occurring secondarily.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-446
Number of pages14
JournalGenetics
Volume170
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

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Population Density
Genetic Drift
Population Genetics
Eukaryota
Genes
Genome
Phenotype
Mutation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

Cite this

Force, A., Cresko, W. A., Pickett, F. B., Proulx, S. R., Amemiya, C., & Lynch, M. (2005). The origin of subfunctions and modular gene regulation. Genetics, 170(1), 433-446. https://doi.org/10.1534/genetics.104.027607

The origin of subfunctions and modular gene regulation. / Force, Allan; Cresko, William A.; Pickett, F. Bryan; Proulx, Steven R.; Amemiya, Chris; Lynch, Michael.

In: Genetics, Vol. 170, No. 1, 01.05.2005, p. 433-446.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Force, A, Cresko, WA, Pickett, FB, Proulx, SR, Amemiya, C & Lynch, M 2005, 'The origin of subfunctions and modular gene regulation', Genetics, vol. 170, no. 1, pp. 433-446. https://doi.org/10.1534/genetics.104.027607
Force A, Cresko WA, Pickett FB, Proulx SR, Amemiya C, Lynch M. The origin of subfunctions and modular gene regulation. Genetics. 2005 May 1;170(1):433-446. https://doi.org/10.1534/genetics.104.027607
Force, Allan ; Cresko, William A. ; Pickett, F. Bryan ; Proulx, Steven R. ; Amemiya, Chris ; Lynch, Michael. / The origin of subfunctions and modular gene regulation. In: Genetics. 2005 ; Vol. 170, No. 1. pp. 433-446.
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