News from the UPF
In most living organisms, from yeast to humans, the DNA replication process follows a predetermined plan in which certain parts of the genome are replicated before other. Alterations in the ‘delayed’ stages of replication have been associated with aging and cancer.
Now, a study published in the open access journal Open Biologyhas linked for the first time this ‘delayed’ replication process with the evolution of life on Earth for millions of years. The work revealed that genes that are replicated earlier are the oldest evolutionary speaking, while those that replicate later in the cycle are ‘younger’ genes. The later the genetic material is copied, the more likely it is to accumulate mutations. Thus, the ancient genes, which tend to be most essential for life, are in protected areas - those areas that replicate earlier and therefore accumulate fewer mutations.
The work was directed by the National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) and Tomàs Marquès-Bonet, ICREA researcher at the CEXS and group leader at the IBE (CSIC-UPF), participated. It represents a new evolutionary approach in which the structure of the genome takes center stage and opens new possibilities for the study of the evolution of living organisms and their diversity.
David Juan, Daniel Rico, Tomas Marques-Bonet, Oscar Fernandez-Capetillo, Alfonso Valencia (2013), "Late‐replicating CNVs as a source of new genes", Biology Open, DOI: 10.1242/bio.20136924.