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Genomic drift and copy number variation of chemosensory receptor genes in humans and mice

By M. Nozawa and M. Nei


Recent studies about the structural variation of genomic sequences have shown that there is a large amount of copy number variations (CNVs) of genes within species. Analyzing Redon et al.'s (2006) crude data on copy number variable regions (CNVRs), we previously showed that CNVs are particularly high for chemosensory receptor genes in human populations. In this paper, we reanalyzed the CNVs of these genes using more refined data by Perry et al. (2008). The results showed that the extent of CNVs is somewhat lower in this dataset than in the previous one, but that the extent is still substantial for olfactory receptor (OR), vomeronasal receptor (VR), and taste receptor (TR) genes. We also studied the CNVs for chemosensory receptor genes in mice, using CNVR data obtained from inbred strains. It was found that the extent of CNVs is quite substantial but is lower than that for human populations. However, because the mouse data came from inbred strains and might be biased, this conclusion should be regarded as tentative. Despite this reservation, the distribution of gene copy number for the OR gene family was approximately normal in both humans and mice, suggesting that genomic drift caused by random duplication and deletion of genes plays important roles in determining the evolutionary change of chemosensation

Topics: Characterization of Copy Number Variations in the Human Genome
Publisher: S. Karger AG
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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