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Evolutionary GeneticsConcepts, Analysis, and Practice$
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Glenn-Peter Sætre and Mark Ravinet

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198830917

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198830917.001.0001

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Genomes and the origin of genetic variation

Genomes and the origin of genetic variation

(p.25) Chapter 2 Genomes and the origin of genetic variation
Evolutionary Genetics

Glenn-Peter Sætre

Mark Ravinet

Oxford University Press

Error and chance events, random mutations, are necessary prerequisites for evolution to happen. In a perfect world with no mutations there would be no evolution because no genetic variation would be generated that natural selection or genetic drift could work upon. This chapter first reviews how DNA is organized into genomes and genes in bacteria, archaea, and, in greater detail, eukaryotes. A surprising finding is that only a small fraction of the eukaryote genome consists of coding sequence. Evolutionary processes that can explain the presence of large amounts of noncoding DNA and the repetitive structure of the genome are reviewed, with emphasis on the roles that selfish genetic elements and unequal crossing over play. The chapter further explores the mechanisms that cause mutation and how new genes and protein functions originate.

Keywords:   genome structure, mutation, recombination, transposable elements, virus, introns, exons, RNA, concerted evolution, gene duplication

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