Genes that are expressed together are often found in clusters within the genome. In an Advanced Online Publication in Nature Genetics, Csaba Pál and Laurence Hurst explore the reasons why genes might exist in clusters (Nature Genetics, DOI:10.1038/ng1111, 10 February, 2003).

Pál & Hurst analyzed the genome of the yeast Sacchraomyces cerevisiae, focusing specifically on genes that are essential for life. They found that indispensable genes are highly clustered, and that these clusters can be up to 20 genes in length and differ from those of co-expressed genes. Clusters of essential genes have a much lower rate of recombination.

The authors conclude that gene order and recombination rate may have co-evolved.

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!