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Mutational Robustness and Asymmetric Functional Specialization of Duplicate Genes


  • Andreas Wagner


Most duplicate genes are eliminated from a genome shortly after duplication, but those that remain are an important source of biochemical diversity. Much of their diversification arises via functional ÒspecializationÓ, loss of some functions of the duplicates remaining in the genome. I here present evidence from genome-scale protein-protein interaction data, microarray expression data, and large-scale gene knockout data that this diversification is often asymmetrical: one duplicate usually shows significantly more molecular or genetic interactions than the other. I propose a model that can explain this divergence pattern if duplicate gene pairs are less likely to suffer deleterious mutations when having diverged asymmetrically. The data may provide the first evidence that natural selection has increased mutational robustness in genetic networks.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Wagner, 2002. "Mutational Robustness and Asymmetric Functional Specialization of Duplicate Genes," Working Papers 02-02-006, Santa Fe Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:02-02-006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andreas Wagner, 2001. "The Yeast Protein Interaction Network Evolves Rapidly and Contains Few Redundant Duplicate Genes," Working Papers 01-04-022, Santa Fe Institute.
    2. Andreas Wagner & David Fell, 2000. "The Small World Inside Large Metabolic Networks," Working Papers 00-07-041, Santa Fe Institute.
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    Molecular evolution; protein networks; micro array; robustness;

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