Gene conversion drives GC content evolution in mammalian histones

Trends Genet. 2003 Feb;19(2):65-8. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(02)00002-1.


To examine the evolutionary influence of gene conversion on DNA base composition, I analysed an exhaustive dataset of histone paralogous genes from human and mouse. I show that those gene copies that belong to subfamilies of very similar sequences (presumably undergoing gene conversion) have a higher GC content than unique gene copies (presumably not undergoing gene conversion). Thus, it seems that gene conversion is a biased process that tends to increase the DNA GC content, a conclusion that has implications for the evolution of isochores in vertebrates.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytosine / chemistry*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • GC Rich Sequence
  • Gene Conversion*
  • Guanine / chemistry*
  • Histones / chemistry*
  • Histones / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mice


  • Histones
  • Guanine
  • Cytosine