Introns: evolution and function

Mattick J.S. (1994) Introns: evolution and function. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development, 4 6: 823-831. doi:10.1016/0959-437X(94)90066-3


Author Mattick J.S.
Title Introns: evolution and function
Journal name Current Opinion in Genetics and Development   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0959-437X
Publication date 1994
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/0959-437X(94)90066-3
Volume 4
Issue 6
Start page 823
End page 831
Total pages 9
Subject 1311 Genetics
Abstract The debate continues on the issue of whether nuclear introns were present in eukaryotic protein-coding genes from the beginning (introns-early) or invaded them later in evolution (introns-late). Recent studies concerning the location of introns with respect to gene and protein structure have been interpreted as providing strong support for both positions, but the weight of argument is clearly moving in favour of the latter. Consistent with this, there is now good evidence that introns can function as transposable elements, and that nuclear introns derived from self-splicing group II introns, which then evolved in partnership with the spliceosome. This was only made possible by the separation of transcription and translation. If introns did colonize eukaryotic genes after their divergence from prokaryotes, the original question as to the evolutionary forces that have seen these sequences flourish in the higher organisms, and their significance in eukaryotic biology, is again thrown open. I suggest that introns, once established in eukaryotic genomes, might have explored new genetic space and acquired functions which provided a positive pressure for their expansion. I further suggest that there are now two types of information produced by eukaryotic genes - mRNA and iRNA - and that this was a critical step in the development of multicellular organisms.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Scopus Import
 
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