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Developmental Constraints on Genome Evolution in Four Bilaterian Model Species.
Genome Biology and Evolution
Developmental constraints on genome evolution have been suggested to follow either an early conservation model or an "hourglass" model. Both models agree that late development strongly diverges between species, but debate on which developmental period is the most conserved. Here, based on a modified "Transcriptome Age Index" approach, that is, weighting trait measures by expression level, we analyzed the constraints acting on three evolutionary traits of protein coding genes (strength of purifying selection on protein sequences, phyletic age, and duplicability) in four species: Nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, fly Drosophila melanogaster, zebrafish Danio rerio, and mouse Mus musculus. In general, we found that both models can be supported by different genomic properties. Sequence evolution follows an hourglass model, but the evolution of phyletic age and of duplicability follow an early conservation model. Further analyses indicate that stronger purifying selection on sequences in the middle development are driven by temporal pleiotropy of these genes. In addition, we report evidence that expression in late development is enriched with retrogenes, which usually lack efficient regulatory elements. This implies that expression in late development could facilitate transcription of new genes, and provide opportunities for acquisition of function. Finally, in C. elegans, we suggest that dosage imbalance could be one of the main factors that cause depleted expression of high duplicability genes in early development.
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