Monday, April 9, 2007
Tempo and mode of genome size evolution
Eukaryotic genome size varies over five orders of magnitude. The genome size distribution is strongly skewed to small values. Genome size is highly correlated to a number of phenotypic traits, suggesting that the relative lack of large genomes in eukaryotes is due to selective removal. In a study by Oliver, M.J., Petrov, D.A., Ackerly, D., Falkowski, P.G., and O.M. Schofield that just came out in Genome Research we demonstrated that the rate of genome size evolution is proportional to genome size, with the fastest rates occurring in the largest genomes. Such a simple proportional model of genome size evolution appears to be virtually universal across eukaryotes. This model explains the skewed distribution of eukaryotic genome sizes without invoking strong selection against large genomes.