Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Nearly Impossible Darwinism…

Posted by Adam Graham on June 18, 2007

Evolution News and Views has a nice piece up on an dual-coding genes that includes this fascinating quote:

Coding of multiple proteins by overlapping reading frames is not a feature one would associate with eukaryotic genes. Indeed, codependency between codons of overlapping protein-coding regions imposes a unique set of evolutionary constraints, making it a costly arrangement. Yet in cases of tightly coexpressed interacting proteins, dual coding may be advantageous. Here we show that although dual coding is nearly impossible by chance, a number of human transcripts contain overlapping coding regions. Using newly developed statistical techniques, we identified 40 candidate genes with evolutionarily conserved overlapping coding regions. Because our approach is conservative, we expect mammals to possess more dual-coding genes. Our results emphasize that the skepticism surrounding eukaryotic dual coding is unwarranted: rather than being artifacts, overlapping reading frames are often hallmarks of fascinating biology.

(Wen-Yu Chung, Samir Wadhawan, Radek Szklarczyk, Sergei Kosakovsky Pond, Anton Nekrutenko, “A First Look at ARFome: Dual-Coding Genes in Mammalian Genomes,” PLOS Computational Biology, Vol. 3(5) (May, 2007), emphasis added.)

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