DOI: 10.1101/510214Jan 2, 2019Paper

Studying the dawn of de novo gene emergence in mice reveals fast integration of new genes into functional networks

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Chen XieDiethard Tautz


The de novo emergence of new transcripts has been well documented through genomic analyses. However, a functional analysis, especially of very young protein coding genes, is still largely lacking. Here we focus on three loci that have evolved from previously intergenic sequences in the house mouse ( Mus musculus ) and are not present in its closest relatives. We have obtained knockouts and analyzed their phenotypes, including a deep transcriptomic analysis, based on a dedicated power analysis. We show that the transcriptional networks are significantly disturbed in the knockouts and that all three genes have effects on phenotypes that are related to their expression patterns. This includes behavioral effects, skeletal differences and the regulation of the reproduction cycle in females. Substitution analysis suggests that all three genes have directly obtained an activity, without new adaptive substitutions. Our findings support the hypothesis that de novo genes can quickly adopt functions without extensive adaptation.

Related Concepts

House mice
Laboratory mice
Mice, Knockout
Reproductive Function
Skeletal Bone
Genetic Loci
Comparative Genomic Analysis

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