The birth and death of genes is central to evolution, yet the underlying genome dynamics remain elusive. A novel mechanism was found by the team of Ichizo Kobayashi through comparison of 10 complete genomes of Helicobacter pylori, bacterium in the stomach associated with ulcer and cancer. The team reconstructed the evolutionary history of their genome organization. European strains carried one copy of a host-interacting gene, while Japanese strains carried two copies. In the latter strains, DNA between these two genes was inverted when compared with the former strains’ genome. Sequence analysis suggested that the gene duplication and inversion took place as a single process. This process interrupted another gene and caused its decay. This process might be occurring in evolving genomes in other organisms and in cancer cells.
The results were published in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Birth and death of genes linked to chromosomal inversion.
Yoshikazu Furuta, Mikihiko Kawaia, Koji Yahara, Noriko Takahashi, Naofumi Handa, Takeshi Tsuru, Kenshiro Oshima, Masaru Yoshida, Takeshi Azuma, Masahira Hattori, Ikuo Uchiyama, Ichizo Kobayashi.
and highlighted in Research Highlights section in January 13 issue of Nature.