Daniel Dowling (WWU)
in: 'Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution': "Emergence of new transcribed human open reading frames - a starting point for new proteins"
by Daniel Dowling (WWU)
Taxon-restricted, proteins have been found in all major clades and play important roles in lineage-specific traits and adaptations. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the prevalence of taxon-restricted proteins, including highly divergent paralogs, horizontal gene transfer, de novo emergence from non-coding DNA. Much of the eukaryotic genome is transcribed into RNA with potential to produce a myriad of potentially beneficial or hazardous peptide products. Protein-coding genes may emerge de novo from the chance formation and transcription of novel open reading frames (ORFs). As these sequences share minimal similarity with pre-existing proteins they can have vastly different properties, structures, and biological activities. Here, I will present data on several thousand human- and primate-restricted transcribed ORFs which may be the starting points for novel taxon-restricted proteins.