Evidence from a variety of data suggests that regulatory mechanisms in multicellular eukaryotes have evolved in such a manner that the stoichiometric relationship of the components of regulatory complexes affects target gene expression. This type of mechanism sets the level of gene expression and, as a consequence, the phenotypic characteristics. Because many types of regulatory processes exhibit dosage-dependent behavior, they would impact quantitative traits and contribute to their multigenic control in a semidominant fashion. Many dosage-dependent effects would also account for the extensive modulation of gene expression throughout the genome that occurs when chromosomes are added to or subtracted from the karyotype (aneuploidy). Moreover, because the majority of dosage-dependent regulators act negatively, this property can account for the up-regulation of genes in monosomics and hemizygous sex chromosomes to achieve dosage compensation.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.