Diversity and Evolution of Spliceosomal Systems

  • Scott William Roy
  • Manuel Irimia
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1126)


The intron–exon structures of eukaryotic nuclear genomes exhibit tremendous diversity across different species. The availability of many genomes from diverse eukaryotic species now allows for the reconstruction of the evolutionary history of this diversity. Consideration of spliceosomal systems in comparative context reveals a surprising and very complex portrait: in contrast to many expectations, gene structures in early eukaryotic ancestors were highly complex and “animal or plant-like” in many of their spliceosomal structures; pronounced simplification of gene structures, splicing signals, and spliceosomal machinery has occurred independently in many lineages. In addition, next-generation sequencing of transcripts has revealed that alternative splicing is more common across eukaryotes than previously thought. However, much alternative splicing in diverse eukaryotes appears to play a regulatory role: alternative splicing fulfilling the most famous role for alternative splicing—production of multiple different proteins from a single gene—appears to be much more common in animal species than in nearly any other lineage.

Key words

Spliceosomal introns Evolution Alternative splicing Eukaryotes Convergence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott William Roy
    • 1
  • Manuel Irimia
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologySan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.The Donnelly CentreUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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