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Oxytricha as a modern analog of ancient genome evolution

Author(s): Goldman, Aaron David; Landweber, Laura F

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Abstract: Several independent lines of evidence suggest that the modern genetic system was preceded by the ‘RNA world’ in which RNA genes encoded RNA catalysts. Current gaps in our conceptual framework of early genetic systems make it difficult to imagine how a stable RNA genome may have functioned and how the transition to a DNA genome could have taken place. Here we use the single-celled ciliate, Oxytricha, as an analog to some of the genetic and genomic traits that may have been present in organisms before and during the establishment of a DNA genome. Oxytricha and its close relatives have a unique genome architecture involving two differentiated nuclei, one of which encodes the genome on small, linear nanochromosomes. While its unique genomic characteristics are relatively modern, some physiological processes related to the genomes and nuclei of Oxytricha may exemplify primitive states of the developing genetic system.
Publication Date: Aug-2012
Electronic Publication Date: 21-May-2012
Citation: Goldman, Aaron David, Landweber, Laura F. (2012). Oxytricha as a modern analog of ancient genome evolution. Trends in Genetics, 28 (8), 382 - 388. doi:10.1016/j.tig.2012.03.010
DOI: doi:10.1016/j.tig.2012.03.010
ISSN: 0168-9525
Pages: 382 - 388
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Trends in Genetics
Version: Author's manuscript

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