Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 61–75 | Cite as

Evolution of cytochrome c genes and pseudogenes

  • C. -I. Wu
  • W. -H. Li
  • J. J. Shen
  • R. C. Scarpulla
  • K. J. Limbach
  • R. Wu


A statistical analysis of the nucleotide sequences of cytochrome c genes from four species of animals and two of yeast and of cytochrome c pseudogenes from rat, mouse, and human was conducted. It was estimated that animals and yeast diverged 1.2 billion years ago, that the two duplicated genes DC3 and DC4 inDrosophila diverged 520 million years ago, and that the two duplicated genes Iso-1 and Iso-2 in the yeastSaccharomyces cerevisiae diverged 200 million years ago. DC3 is expressed at a low level and has evolved 3 times faster than DC4. This observation supports the neutralist view that relaxation of functional constraints is a more likely cause of accelerated evolution following gene duplication than is advantageous mutation. All the rodent pseudogenes examined appear to be processed pseudogenes derived directly from the functional genes, and most of them apparently arose after the mosue-rat split. No event of gene conversion could be detected between any pair of the rodent pseudogenes. Our analysis suggests that the human cytochrome c gene has evolved at a rate comparable to the average rate for pseudogenes, whereas some human cytochrome c pseudogenes have evolved at an exceptionally low rate.

Key words

Duplicate genes Accelerated evolution Processed pseudogenes Age of pseudogenes Phylogenetic relationships 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. -I. Wu
    • 1
  • W. -H. Li
    • 1
  • J. J. Shen
    • 2
  • R. C. Scarpulla
    • 3
  • K. J. Limbach
    • 2
  • R. Wu
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Demographic and Population GeneticsUniversity of TexasHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Section of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell BiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Molecular BiologyNorthwestern University Medical SchoolChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Laboratory of Genetics, 509 Genetics BuildingUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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