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Ancient introns

Jonathan B Weitzman

Genome Biology 2001, 2:spotlight-20011113-01  doi:10.1186/gb-spotlight-20011113-01

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:13 November 2001

© 2001 BioMed Central Ltd

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The origins of introns and their evolutionary role remain unclear. In the November 6 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Fedorov et al. describe the use of a computer program, called INTRONMAP to present evidence for the existence of ancient introns (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:13177-13182). They used the program to map intron positions onto homologous genes encoding proteins for which the three-dimensional structure is known. They applied the program to 665 nonredundant protein sequences in the Protein Data Bank and mapped over 8,000 introns. The result was a correlation of phase-zero introns with module boundaries in proteins, corresponding to ancient conserved regions (ACR). There was no correlation for phase-one or phase-two positions, or for non-ACR proteins (which presumably represent 'modern' genes).


  1. What introns have to tell us: hierarchy in genome evolution.

    PubMed Abstract OpenURL

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    Proceedings of the National Academy of Science

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    Protein Data Bank