Uncovering de novo gene birth in yeast using deep transcriptomics

Nat Commun. 2021 Jan 27;12(1):604. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-20911-3.


De novo gene origination has been recently established as an important mechanism for the formation of new genes. In organisms with a large genome, intergenic and intronic regions provide plenty of raw material for new transcriptional events to occur, but little is know about how de novo transcripts originate in more densely-packed genomes. Here, we identify 213 de novo originated transcripts in Saccharomyces cerevisiae using deep transcriptomics and genomic synteny information from multiple yeast species grown in two different conditions. We find that about half of the de novo transcripts are expressed from regions which already harbor other genes in the opposite orientation; these transcripts show similar expression changes in response to stress as their overlapping counterparts, and some appear to translate small proteins. Thus, a large fraction of de novo genes in yeast are likely to co-evolve with already existing genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Conserved Sequence / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Genes, Fungal*
  • Open Reading Frames / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcriptome / genetics*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins