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PLoS Genetics Issue Image | Vol. 5(5) May 2009

PLoS Genetics Issue Image | Vol. 5(5) May 2009

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How does gene loss affect function in surviving paralogs?

Retinoic acid signaling controls vertebrate eye development; yet, different lineages of vertebrates have different numbers of genes that encode the Aldh enzyme that synthesizes retinoic acid. Mammals have three Aldh genes, zebrafish and stickleback (top and bottom) have two, and medaka (middle) has just one. Comparative genomic analyses reveal the history of Aldh gene duplication and loss (see Cañestro et al., 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000496) and suggest a mechanistic model for the acquisition or modification of subfunctions in surviving paralogs that preserve ancestral developmental programs in the face of gene loss, with implications for connectivities of human and model organism genomes.

Image Credit: Pictures taken by Dr. Cristian Cañestro in Dr. John H. Postlethwait's laboratory (Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon).

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How does gene loss affect function in surviving paralogs?

Retinoic acid signaling controls vertebrate eye development; yet, different lineages of vertebrates have different numbers of genes that encode the Aldh enzyme that synthesizes retinoic acid. Mammals have three Aldh genes, zebrafish and stickleback (top and bottom) have two, and medaka (middle) has just one. Comparative genomic analyses reveal the history of Aldh gene duplication and loss (see Cañestro et al., 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000496) and suggest a mechanistic model for the acquisition or modification of subfunctions in surviving paralogs that preserve ancestral developmental programs in the face of gene loss, with implications for connectivities of human and model organism genomes.

Image Credit: Pictures taken by Dr. Cristian Cañestro in Dr. John H. Postlethwait's laboratory (Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon).

https://doi.org/10.1371/image.pgen.v05.i05.g001