Origin of New Genes and Source for N-terminal Domain of the Chimerical Gene, Jingwei, in Drosophila

Gene. 1999 Sep 30;238(1):135-41. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(99)00229-2.


This paper deals with a general question posed by the origin of new processed chimerical genes: when a new retrosequence inserts into a new genome position, how does it become activated and acquire novel protein function by recruiting new functional domains and regulatory elements? Jingwei (jgw), a newly evolved functional gene with a chimerical structure in Drosophila, provides an opportunity to examine such questions. The source of its exon encoding C-terminal peptide has been identified as an Adh retrosequence, which extends the concept of exon shuffling from recombination to retroposition as a general molecular mechanism for the origin of a new gene. However, the origin of 5' exons remains unclear. We examined two hypotheses concerning the origin of these non-Adh-derived jgw exons: (i) these exons might originate from a unique genomic sequence that fortuitously evolved a standard intron-exon structure and regulatory sequence for jgw; (ii) these exons might be a duplicate of an unrelated previously existing gene. Genomic Southern analysis, in conjunction with construction and screening of a genomic bookshelf (sub-library), was conducted in a group of Drosophila species. The results demonstrated that there are duplicate genes containing the same structure as the recruited portion of jgw. We name this duplicate gene in Drosophila teissieri and Drosophila yakuba and its orthologous gene in Drosophila melanogaster as yellow-emperor (ymp). Thus, the 5' exons/introns originated from a previously existing gene that provided new modules with specific sub-function to create jgw.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Chimera
  • DNA
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Exons
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutant Chimeric Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Jingwei protein, Drosophila
  • Mutant Chimeric Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • DNA