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Research Article

Rate of Evolution in Brain-Expressed Genes in Humans and Other Primates

  • Hurng-Yi Wang,

    Affiliations: Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

    ยค Current address: Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

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  • Huan-Chieh Chien,

    Affiliation: Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

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  • Naoki Osada,

    Affiliation: Division of Biomedical Research Resources, National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, Osaka, Japan

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  • Katsuyuki Hashimoto,

    Affiliation: Division of Genetic Resources, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo, Japan

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  • Sumio Sugano,

    Affiliation: Laboratory of Functional Genomics, Department of Medical Genome Sciences, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

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  • Takashi Gojobori,

    Affiliation: Center of Information Biology, National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan

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  • Chen-Kung Chou,

    Affiliation: Department of Life Science, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan

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  • Shih-Feng Tsai,

    Affiliation: Division of Molecular and Genomic Medicine, National Health Research Institute, Miaoli, Taiwan

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  • Chung-I Wu mail,

    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ciwu@uchicago.edu (CIW); ckshen@ccvax.sinica.edu.tw (CKJS)

    Affiliation: Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

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  • C.-K. James Shen mail

    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ciwu@uchicago.edu (CIW); ckshen@ccvax.sinica.edu.tw (CKJS)

    Affiliation: Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

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  • Published: December 26, 2006
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050013

Reader Comments (1)

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If complexity constrains mutation, then what remains of the neutral theory for macroevolution?

Posted by plosbiology on 07 May 2009 at 22:28 GMT

Author: Shi Huang
Position: Associate Professor
Institution: The Burnham Institute
E-mail: shuangtheman@yahoo.com
Submitted Date: January 19, 2009
Published Date: January 30, 2009
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

I wish I had cited your great paper in my paper titled “Inverse relationship between genetic diversity and epigenetic complexity” (http://precedings.nature....).

I missed it because a paper I was following (Tuller et al 2008) did not cite it in the appropriate place. I will make sure to cite it in the next version of my paper.

I suggest that more neuronal cell types in the brain makes a brain specific gene more like a house keeping gene. And a house keeping gene is known to evole more slowly.

I also gave it a much a deeper thought about the implications of this phenomenon to the big picture of general evolution mechanisms. The outcome of this is a new theory of macroevolution, the maximum genetic diversity hypothesis. The idea of complexity constraints on mutations is not new and is mentioned in numerous papers on the effects of selection on mutations. What is striking is that no one has yet to go from that to its deeper meaning, which is to invalidate the whole paradigm of molecular evolution, the neutral theory, that claims that the vast majority of fixed mutations are neutral. My paper has now for the first time followed the data to where it leads. It has used a non-neutral theory to explain the most remarkable result, the genetic equidistance result, that originally 46 years ago provoked the constant molecular clock hypothesis and in turn the neutral theory, and which remains the only and strongest evidence for the neutral theory. The major facts of molecular macroevolution can now be understood without using the neutral theory. It is easy to see that the neutral theory is false for macroevolution because it is an ad hoc theory good for one fact alone (the equidistance result) with countless contradictions such as data from your paper.

No competing interests declared.