Evolution and assembly of an extremely scrambled gene

Laura F. Landweber, Tai Chih Kuo, Edward A. Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


The process of gene unscrambling in hypotrichous ciliates represents one of nature's ingenious solutions to the problem of gene assembly. With some essential genes scrambled in as many as 51 pieces, these ciliates rely on sequence and structural cues to rebuild their fragmented genes and genomes. Here we report the complex pattern of scrambling in the DNA polymerase α gene of Stylonychia lemnae. The germline (micronuclear) copy of this gene is broken into 48 pieces with 47 dispersed over two loci, with no asymmetry in the placement of coding segments on either strand. Direct repeats present at the boundaries between coding and noncoding sequences provide pointers to help guide assembly of the functional (macronuclear) gene. We investigate the evolution of this complex gene in three hypotrichous species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3298-3303
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 28 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Ciliate
  • DNA computing
  • DNA polymerase α
  • Gene rearrangement
  • Hypotrich

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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