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J Mol Cell Biol January 1, 2018; 10 (2): 139-146.

Origin of new genes after zygotic genome activation in vertebrate.

Xu HB , Li YX , Li Y , Otecko NO , Zhang YP , Mao B , Wu DD .

New genes are drivers of evolutionary innovation and phenotypic evolution. Expression of new genes in early development raises the possibility that new genes could originate and be recruited for functions in embryonic development, but this remains undocumented. Here, based on temporal gene expression at different developmental stages in Xenopus tropicalis, we found that young protein-coding genes were significantly enriched for expression in developmental stages occurring after the midblastula transition (MBT), and displayed a decreasing trend in abundance in the subsequent stages after MBT. To complement the finding, we demonstrate essential functional attributes of a young orphan gene, named as Fog2, in morphological development. Our data indicate that new genes could originate after MBT and be recruited for functions in embryonic development, and thus provide insights for better understanding of the origin, evolution, and function of new genes.

PubMed ID: 29281098
Article link: J Mol Cell Biol

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