Journal Article

Evidence for Widespread GC-biased Gene Conversion in Eukaryotes

Eugénie Pessia, Alexandra Popa, Sylvain Mousset, Clément Rezvoy, Laurent Duret and Gabriel A. B. Marais

in Genome Biology and Evolution

Published on behalf of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 4, issue 7, pages 675-682
Published in print January 2012 |
Published online May 2012 | e-ISSN: 1759-6653 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evs052

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GC-biased gene conversion (gBGC) is a process that tends to increase the GC content of recombining DNA over evolutionary time and is thought to explain the evolution of GC content in mammals and yeasts. Evidence for gBGC outside these two groups is growing but is still limited. Here, we analyzed 36 completely sequenced genomes representing four of the five major groups in eukaryotes (Unikonts, Excavates, Chromalveolates and Plantae). gBGC was investigated by directly comparing GC content and recombination rates in species where recombination data are available, that is, half of them. To study all species of our dataset, we used chromosome size as a proxy for recombination rate and compared it with GC content. Among the 17 species showing a significant relationship between GC content and chromosome size, 15 are consistent with the predictions of the gBGC model. Importantly, the species showing a pattern consistent with gBGC are found in all the four major groups of eukaryotes studied, which suggests that gBGC may be widespread in eukaryotes.

Keywords: GC-biased gene conversion; recombination; GC content; chromosome size

Journal Article.  4664 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology ; Evolutionary Biology ; Genetics and Genomics

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