How gene families evolve

Theor Popul Biol. 1990 Feb;37(1):213-9. doi: 10.1016/0040-5809(90)90036-u.


Theories and facts of gene family evolution are reviewed. Concerted evolution is commonly observed for gene families which originated a long time ago, however there are many different types of multigene families, from uniform to diverse. The rate of homogenization by unequal crossing-over, gene conversion, etc. has been evolutionarily adjusted for each gene family. When new functions are needed by organisms, gene families may evolve into superfamilies, in which no further concerted evolution takes place, and each member of the family may acquire an indispensable function. The homeobox-containing gene family is a most exciting example of such superfamily.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Frequency / genetics
  • Gene Pool
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Multigene Family*
  • Recombination, Genetic / genetics
  • Selection, Genetic


  • DNA