Neutral and non-neutral evolution of duplicated genes with gene conversion

Genes (Basel). 2011 Feb 18;2(1):191-209. doi: 10.3390/genes2010191.


Gene conversion is one of the major mutational mechanisms involved in the DNA sequence evolution of duplicated genes. It contributes to create unique patters of DNA polymorphism within species and divergence between species. A typical pattern is so-called concerted evolution, in which the divergence between duplicates is maintained low for a long time because of frequent exchanges of DNA fragments. In addition, gene conversion affects the DNA evolution of duplicates in various ways especially when selection operates. Here, we review theoretical models to understand the evolution of duplicates in both neutral and non-neutral cases. We also explain how these theories contribute to interpreting real polymorphism and divergence data by using some intriguing examples.