Major gene families in humans and their evolutionary history

Published on February 28, 2022   28 min

Other Talks in the Category: Genetics & Epigenetics

0:00
Hello, my name is Yoshihito Niimura from the University of Miyazaki, Japan. The title of my talk is Major Gene Families in Humans and Their Evolutionary History.
0:13
This is the content of my talk. First, I'd like to talk about a multigene family.
0:21
A multigene family is a group of genes that have descended from a common ancestor and, therefore, have similar functions and similar DNA sequences. Historically, a Japanese geneticist Yoshinari Kuwada, has mentioned the possibility of chromosome duplication by observing the chromosomes of maize. Later, Susumu Ohno published a book entitled Evolution by Gene Duplication in 1970 and postulated that gene duplication played a major role in evolution. A gene duplication generates two copies of the same gene. In this situation, it is easier to gain an over function, because one copy functions as a spare of the original gene. Therefore, the other gene can alter its function without losing its original function.
1:16
Hemoglobin provides a classical example of gene duplication. It is well known that hemoglobin in red blood cells of humans is composed of four subunits; two α and two β chains. There are also γ and δ chains, which are mainly used in fetuses and newborns, respectively. In 1961, Ingram proposed that the genes encoding hemoglobin α, β, γ and δ chains were generated by gene duplication.
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Major gene families in humans and their evolutionary history

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