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Do New Genes Stem From the Non-Coding Part of the Genome During Fast Adaptation Processes?

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Tautz,  Diethard
Department Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Abstract
It is often thought that evolution is a slow process. During ecological changes in the environment, however, evolution can happen very fast. One of the reasons for this could be the role of new genes that are recruited during that adaptation. DIETHARD TAUTZ pursues the theory that these new genes come out of the so-called non-coding part of the genome. He is interested in studying the fraction of bioactive molecules that come out of random sequences. So far, this explanation has been thought unlikely but, as he explains in this video, synthesizing random sequences and using bacteria as a test system his research group found bioactive molecules in them. This suggests that during fast adaptation processes new genes are recruited from this background of genes in the non-coding part of the genome. This has important implications for our understanding of how adaptation works and offers great potential for the use of these bioactive molecules for medical and pharmaceutical purposes.