How yeasts evolve

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Publication of four more genomes confirm disputed whole genome duplication theory | By Cathy Holding

The publication in Nature this week of four yeast genomic sequences seems to have confirmed the controversial idea, introduced in 1997, that whole genome duplication occurred in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

The very high-coverage sequences—with virtually no gaps—of four species of yeast reveal evidence of tandem gene duplication, segmental duplication (coduplication of tens to hundreds of genes), and whole genome duplication, said study coauthor Giles Fischer, who worked with Bernard Dujon and others at the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique in France. "One of the major forces that has driven evolution is gene duplication followed by gene loss," Fischer said, "but we did not find only one single mechanism of gene duplication, we found three."

"During the last 2 or 3 years, about 10 novel yeast sequences have been completed, and now the comparison of these sequences has brought one conclusion which is very clear," said André Goffeau, a professor at the Institut des Sciences Vie, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, who wrote an accompanying News and Views article. The proposal of whole genome duplication in S. cerevisiae—first put forward by Ken Wolfe, professor at the department of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin—"is now fully proven without doubt," Goffeau told The Scientist.

"Dujon was one of the people who was most opposed to this hypothesis," Wolfe, who was not involved in the study, told The Scientist. He said that in 2000, the French group did limited sequencing of 13 species of yeasts and drew the conclusion that there was no evidence to support the genome duplication idea. "It wasn't even draft sequencing, it was 0.2-fold coverage," said Wolfe. "They've completely turned around and changed their minds now—very gratifying for me." [Broken]
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I don't know a whole lot about yeast, but I've been advocating genome duplication followed by gene loss as a method of relatively quick speciation on message boards for a while now and I'm glad to see this. Further evidence with which to boost my arguments.

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