Selfish operons: the evolutionary impact of gene clustering in prokaryotes and eukaryotes

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1999 Dec;9(6):642-8. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(99)00025-8.


The Selfish Operon Model postulates that the organization of bacterial genes into operons is beneficial to the constituent genes in that proximity allows horizontal cotransfer of all genes required for a selectable phenotype; eukaryotic operons formed for very different reasons. Horizontal transfer of selfish operons most probably promotes bacterial diversification.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Eukaryotic Cells
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genes*
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Operon / genetics*
  • Selection, Genetic