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author:("Tian, macheng")
1.  Functional requirements driving the gene duplication in 12 Drosophila species 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:555.
Background
Gene duplication supplies the raw materials for novel gene functions and many gene families arisen from duplication experience adaptive evolution. Most studies of young duplicates have focused on mammals, especially humans, whereas reports describing their genome-wide evolutionary patterns across the closely related Drosophila species are rare. The sequenced 12 Drosophila genomes provide the opportunity to address this issue.
Results
In our study, 3,647 young duplicate gene families were identified across the 12 Drosophila species and three types of expansions, species-specific, lineage-specific and complex expansions, were detected in these gene families. Our data showed that the species-specific young duplicate genes predominated (86.6%) over the other two types. Interestingly, many independent species-specific expansions in the same gene family have been observed in many species, even including 11 or 12 Drosophila species. Our data also showed that the functional bias observed in these young duplicate genes was mainly related to responses to environmental stimuli and biotic stresses.
Conclusions
This study reveals the evolutionary patterns of young duplicates across 12 Drosophila species on a genomic scale. Our results suggest that convergent evolution acts on young duplicate genes after the species differentiation and adaptive evolution may play an important role in duplicate genes for adaption to ecological factors and environmental changes in Drosophila.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-555
PMCID: PMC3751352  PMID: 23945147
Young duplication; Environmental factor; Convergent evolution; Adaptive evolution
2.  Genome-Wide Survey of Pseudogenes in 80 Fully Re-sequenced Arabidopsis thaliana Accessions 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51769.
Pseudogenes (Ψs), including processed and non-processed Ψs, are ubiquitous genetic elements derived from originally functional genes in all studied genomes within the three kingdoms of life. However, systematic surveys of non-processed Ψs utilizing genomic information from multiple samples within a species are still rare. Here a systematic comparative analysis was conducted of Ψs within 80 fully re-sequenced Arabidopsis thaliana accessions, and 7546 genes, representing ∼28% of the genomic annotated open reading frames (ORFs), were found with disruptive mutations in at least one accession. The distribution of these Ψs on chromosomes showed a significantly negative correlation between Ψs/ORFs and their local gene densities, suggesting a higher proportion of Ψs in gene desert regions, e.g. near centromeres. On the other hand, compared with the non-Ψ loci, even the intact coding sequences (CDSs) in the Ψ loci were found to have shorter CDS length, fewer exon number and lower GC content. In addition, a significant functional bias against the null hypothesis was detected in the Ψs mainly involved in responses to environmental stimuli and biotic stress as reported, suggesting that they are likely important for adaptive evolution to rapidly changing environments by pseudogenization to accumulate successive mutations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051769
PMCID: PMC3521719  PMID: 23272162
3.  Variation of presence/absence genes among Arabidopsis populations 
Background
Gene presence/absence (P/A) polymorphisms are commonly observed in plants and are important in individual adaptation and species differentiation. Detecting their abundance, distribution and variation among individuals would help to understand the role played by these polymorphisms in a given species. The recently sequenced 80 Arabidopsis genomes provide an opportunity to address these questions.
Results
By systematically investigating these accessions, we identified 2,407 P/A genes (or 8.9%) absent in one or more genomes, averaging 444 absent genes per accession. 50.6% of P/A genes belonged to multi-copy gene families, or 31.0% to clustered genes. However, the highest proportion of P/A genes, outnumbered in singleton genes, was observed in the regions near centromeres. In addition, a significant correlation was observed between the P/A gene frequency among the 80 accessions and the diversity level at P/A loci. Furthermore, the proportion of P/A genes was different among functional gene categories. Finally, a P/A gene tree showed a diversified population structure in the worldwide Arabidopsis accessions.
Conclusions
An estimate of P/A genes and their frequency distribution in the worldwide Arabidopsis accessions was obtained. Our results suggest that there are diverse mechanisms to generate or maintain P/A genes, by which individuals and functionally different genes can selectively maintain P/A polymorphisms for a specific adaptation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2148-12-86
PMCID: PMC3433342  PMID: 22697058
4.  Genome-wide investigation reveals high evolutionary rates in annual model plants 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:242.
Background
Rates of molecular evolution vary widely among species. While significant deviations from molecular clock have been found in many taxa, effects of life histories on molecular evolution are not fully understood. In plants, annual/perennial life history traits have long been suspected to influence the evolutionary rates at the molecular level. To date, however, the number of genes investigated on this subject is limited and the conclusions are mixed. To evaluate the possible heterogeneity in evolutionary rates between annual and perennial plants at the genomic level, we investigated 85 nuclear housekeeping genes, 10 non-housekeeping families, and 34 chloroplast genes using the genomic data from model plants including Arabidopsis thaliana and Medicago truncatula for annuals and grape (Vitis vinifera) and popular (Populus trichocarpa) for perennials.
Results
According to the cross-comparisons among the four species, 74-82% of the nuclear genes and 71-97% of the chloroplast genes suggested higher rates of molecular evolution in the two annuals than those in the two perennials. The significant heterogeneity in evolutionary rate between annuals and perennials was consistently found both in nonsynonymous sites and synonymous sites. While a linear correlation of evolutionary rates in orthologous genes between species was observed in nonsynonymous sites, the correlation was weak or invisible in synonymous sites. This tendency was clearer in nuclear genes than in chloroplast genes, in which the overall evolutionary rate was small. The slope of the regression line was consistently lower than unity, further confirming the higher evolutionary rate in annuals at the genomic level.
Conclusions
The higher evolutionary rate in annuals than in perennials appears to be a universal phenomenon both in nuclear and chloroplast genomes in the four dicot model plants we investigated. Therefore, such heterogeneity in evolutionary rate should result from factors that have genome-wide influence, most likely those associated with annual/perennial life history. Although we acknowledge current limitations of this kind of study, mainly due to a small sample size available and a distant taxonomic relationship of the model organisms, our results indicate that the genome-wide survey is a promising approach toward further understanding of the mechanism determining the molecular evolutionary rate at the genomic level.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-242
PMCID: PMC3095324  PMID: 21062446
5.  Important role of indels in somatic mutations of human cancer genes 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:128.
Background
Cancer is clonal proliferation that arises owing to mutations in a subset of genes that confer growth advantage. More and more cancer related genes are found to have accumulated somatic mutations. However, little has been reported about mutational patterns of insertions/deletions (indels) in these genes.
Results
We analyzed indels' abundance and distribution, the relative ratio between indels and somatic base substitutions and the association between those two forms of mutations in a large number of somatic mutations in the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer database. We found a strong correlation between indels and base substitutions in cancer-related genes and showed that they tend to concentrate at the same locus in the coding sequences within the same samples. More importantly, a much higher proportion of indels were observed in somatic mutations, as compared to meiotic ones. Furthermore, our analysis demonstrated a great diversity of indels at some loci of cancer-related genes. Particularly in the genes with abundant mutations, the proportion of 3n indels in oncogenes is 7.9 times higher than that in tumor suppressor genes.
Conclusions
There are three distinct patterns of indel distribution in somatic mutations: high proportion, great abundance and non-random distribution. Because of the great influence of indels on gene function (e.g., the effect of frameshift mutation), these patterns indicate that indels are frequently under positive selection and can often be the 'driver mutations' in oncogenesis. Such driver forces can better explain why much less frameshift mutations are in oncogenes while much more in tumor suppressor genes, because of their different function in oncogenesis. These findings contribute to our understanding of mutational patterns and the relationship between indels and cancer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-128
PMCID: PMC2940769  PMID: 20807447
6.  Patterns of exon-intron architecture variation of genes in eukaryotic genomes 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:47.
Background
The origin and importance of exon-intron architecture comprises one of the remaining mysteries of gene evolution. Several studies have investigated the variations of intron length, GC content, ordinal position in a gene and divergence. However, there is little study about the structural variation of exons and introns.
Results
We investigated the length, GC content, ordinal position and divergence in both exons and introns of 13 eukaryotic genomes, representing plant and animal. Our analyses revealed that three basic patterns of exon-intron variation were present in nearly all analyzed genomes (P < 0.001 in most cases): an ordinal reduction of length and divergence in both exon and intron, a co-variation between exon and its flanking introns in their length, GC content and divergence, and a decrease of average exon (or intron) length, GC content and divergence as the total exon numbers of a gene increased. In addition, we observed that the shorter introns had either low or high GC content, and the GC content of long introns was intermediate.
Conclusion
Although the factors contributing to these patterns have not been identified, our results provide three important clues: common factor(s) exist and may shape both exons and introns; the ordinal reduction patterns may reflect a time-orderly evolution; and the larger first and last exons may be splicing-required. These clues provide a framework for elucidating mechanisms involved in the organization of eukaryotic genomes and particularly in building exon-intron structures.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-47
PMCID: PMC2636830  PMID: 19166620
7.  Highly asymmetric rice genomes 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:154.
Background
Individuals in the same species are assumed to share the same genomic set. However, it is not unusual to find an orthologous gene only in small subset of the species, and recent genomic studies suggest that structural rearrangements are very frequent between genomes in the same species. Two recently sequenced rice genomes Oryza sativa L. var. Nipponbare and O. sativa L. var. 93-11 provide an opportunity to systematically investigate the extent of the gene repertoire polymorphism, even though the genomic data of 93-11 derived from whole-short-gun sequencing is not yet as complete as that of Nipponbare.
Results
We compared gene contents and the genomic locations between two rice genomes. Our conservative estimates suggest that at least 10% of the genes in the genomes were either under presence/absence polymorphism (5.2%) or asymmetrically located between genomes (4.7%). The proportion of these "asymmetric genes" varied largely among gene groups, in which disease resistance (R) genes and the RLK kinase gene group had 11.6 and 7.8 times higher proportion of asymmetric genes than housekeeping genes (Myb and MADS). The significant difference in the proportion of asymmetric genes among gene groups suggests that natural selection is responsible for maintaining genomic asymmetry. On the other hand, the nucleotide diversity in 17 R genes under presence/absence polymorphism was generally low (average nucleotide diversity = 0.0051).
Conclusion
The genomic symmetry was disrupted by 10% of asymmetric genes, which could cause genetic variation through more unequal crossing over, because these genes had no allelic counterparts to pair and then they were free to pair with homologues at non-allelic loci, during meiosis in heterozygotes. It might be a consequence of diversifying selection that increased the structural divergence among genomes, and of purifying selection that decreased nucleotide divergence in each R gene locus.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-154
PMCID: PMC1914357  PMID: 17555605

Results 1-7 (7)