Entropy and GC Content in the beta-esterase gene cluster of the Drosophila melanogaster subgroup

Molecular Biology and Evolution
Evgeniy S BalakirevFrancisco J Ayala


We perform spectral entropy and GC content analyses in the beta-esterase gene cluster, including the Est-6 gene and the psiEst-6 putative pseudogene, in seven species of the Drosophila melanogaster species subgroup. psiEst-6 combines features of functional and nonfunctional genes. The spectral entropies show distinctly lower structural ordering for psiEst-6 than for Est-6 in all species studied. Our observations agree with previous results for D. melanogaster and provide additional support to our hypothesis that after the duplication event Est-6 retained the esterase-coding function and its role during copulation, while psiEst-6 lost that function but now operates in conjunction with Est-6 as an intergene. Entropy accumulation is not a completely random process for either gene. Structural entropy is nucleotide dependent. The relative normalized deviations for structural entropy are higher for G than for C nucleotides. The entropy values are similar for Est-6 and psiEst-6 in the case of A and T but are lower for Est-6 in the case of G and C. The GC content in synonymous positions is uniformly higher in Est-6 than in psiEst-6, which agrees with the reduced GC content generally observed in pseudogenes and nonfunctional sequences. ...Continue Reading


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