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Penney, J., Bossé, J., Clark, D.V. (2008). Expression pattern diversity and functional conservation between retroposed PRAT genes from Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila virilis.  J. Mol. Evol. 66(5): 457--471.
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Gene duplication by retrotransposition duplicates only the coding and untranslated regions of a gene and, thus, biases retroduplicated genes toward having different expression patterns from their parental genes. As such, genes duplicated by retrotransposition are more likely to develop novel expression domains. To explore this idea further, we used the Prat/Prat2 gene duplication in Drosophila as a case study to examine the aftermath of a retrotransposition event that resulted in both the parent and the child gene becoming essential for survival. We used the Gal4-UAS transgene system with EGFP as a reporter to determine the developmental expression patterns of Prat and Prat2 from D. melanogaster (DmPrat and DmPrat2) and Prat from D. virilis (DvPrat). We also tested the functional equivalence of the protein products of DmPrat and DmPrat2. We found that each of the proteins could rescue DmPrat mutations, showing that the requirement for both Prat and Prat2 in Drosophila is not simply due to differences in protein function. In contrast, we found that the DmPrat and DmPrat2 genes have developed nonoverlapping patterns of expression, which correlate with their respective loss-of-function phenotypes. We further found that DvPrat expression is similar to DmPrat during development but differs in adult gonads. Thus, the function of the Prat retrogene has not diverged in the D. melanogaster and D. virilis lineages, while some aspects of its expression pattern have evolved. Finally, we have identified promoter elements, conserved upstream of DmPrat and DvPrat, that this retrogene has acquired to drive its expression.

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    J. Mol. Evol.
    Journal of Molecular Evolution
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    Aberrations (1)
    Alleles (10)
    Genes (7)
    Sequence Features (2)
    Natural transposons (1)
    Experimental Tools (2)
    Transgenic Constructs (9)
    Transcripts (2)