Whatever their abundance in genomes, spliceosomal introns are the signature of eukaryotic genes. The sequence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, achieved fifteen years ago, revealed that this yeast has very few introns, but conserved intron boundaries typical for an intron definition mechanism. With the improvement and the development of new sequencing technologies, yeast genomes have been extensively sequenced during the last decade. We took advantage of this plethora of data to compile and assess the intron content of the protein-coding genes of 13 genomes representative of the evolution of hemiascomycetous yeasts. We first observed that intron paucity is a general rule and that the fastest evolving genomes tend to lose their introns more rapidly (e.g. S. cerevisiae versus Yarrowia lipolytica). Noticeable differences were also confirmed for 5' splice sites and branch point sites (BP) as well as for the relative position of the BP. These changes seemed to be correlated with the lineage specific evolution of splicing factors.
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