February 6, 2012

Pseudogenes: Secret Weapon of Evolution

Dennis Venema, BioLogos Forum


AP Photo

“Pseudogenes” (literally “false genes”) are generally viewed as sequences in genomes that, though they have high sequence similarity to “real” genes, do not have a function. Historically they were found before the advent of whole-genome sequencing as alternate forms of genes that lacked certain features. Some pseudogenes have characteristics that indicate they are derived from “real” genes – a class of pseudogenes called processed pseudogenes. In this post we’ll discuss the mechanism by which processed pseudogenes arise, and then discuss how a small fraction of them pick up functions and become “real” themselves.

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TAGGED: Evolution, Pseudogenes

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