International Mammalian Genome Society

The 16th International Mouse Genome Conference (2002)


POSTER 170 - RAPID EVOLUTION OF HOMOLOGOUS ZINC FINGER GENE FAMILIES LOCATED ON MOUSE CHROMOSOME 7 (Mmu7) AND HUMAN CHROMOSOME 19q13.2

A Hamilton
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)

Shannon M, Gordon, L, Branscomb E, Stubbs L
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

In comparative studies on regions of the mouse genome that are syntenically homologous to Human chromosome 19, we discovered a conserved cluster of zinc finger genes (encoding transcriptional regulators) including at least five probable orthologous pairs of genes. However there appear to be very different duplication histories in the expansion of the cluster, resulting in unequal numbers of zinc-finger genes (21 human, 10 mouse) through differential duplication of ancestral genes such that strictly orthologous relationships have not been maintained. For example, one human gene (ZNF235) is related to six mouse genes which have apparently arisen by duplication events since the divergence of the two lineages, while a single mouse ZNF gene (Zfp61) remains as the single mouse “homolog” for ten recently duplicated human genes. We have developed a hypothesis to explain the phylogenetic history of this gene cluster and have studied the divergence of expression patterns for the duplicated genes.  We have also begun to investigate how these changes are reflected in diverging structures of the duplicated regulatory elements. Because mammalian genomes contain hundreds of ZNF genes, such changes in gene number and expression patterns have implications for the study of mechanisms for tissue-specific gene regulation and for the analysis of the origin of genetic diversity on which natural selection acts. As this region is sequenced for other species the data for the cluster in each will be added to the comparative analysis. An overview and progress reports on these aspects of the project will be presented.


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