Silk moth chorion pseudogenes: Hallmarks of genomic evolution by sequence duplication and gene conversion
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The part of the genetic locus of the domesticated silk moth,Bombyx mori, in which high cysteine (Hc) chorion genes of late developmental specificity reside contains regions encompassing genelike sequences which exhibit properties distinct from those of functional Hc genes. One of these regions has been characterized and shown to contain a chorion pseudogene, ψHcB.15, which shares pronounced similarities with a transcribed chorion pseudogene, ψHcB.12/13, which was characterized previously. Both pseudogenes are homologous to HcB chorion genes but bear multiple single nucleotide substitutions and short segmental mutations (insertions and deletions) which introduce translational frame shifts and termination codons in the coding regions. Structural characteristics unique to the two pseudogenes suggest that ψHcB.15 was generated first from a functional HcB gene and gave rise subsequently to ψHcB 12/13 as a result of a sequence duplication event. The two pseudogenes can be distinguished from each other by the presence of distinct regions of similarity to the consensus sequence of functional HcB genes which appear to have arisen from gene-conversionmediated correctional events. These findings lend support to the hypothesis that chorion pseudogene sequences represent reservoirs of genetic information that participates in the evolution of the chorion locus rather than relics of inactivated genes passively awaiting extinction.
Key wordsSilk moth Chorion Pseudogenes
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