The Xist gene belongs to the class of long noncoding regulatory RNA genes which play a key role in the process of inactivation of one of the X chromosomes in females of placental mammals. Based on inter-specific comparative sequence analysis performed using a set of bioinformatic programs and approaches, the exon-intron gene structure was first described in two species, elephant and armadillo, belonging to the most primitive placental mammal groups, Afrotheria and Xenarthra. Using multiple sequence alignment of the species representing all main groups of placental mammals (12 species), consensus sequence of the ancestral gene was reconstructed. In the gene structure four evolutionary conserved regions with the identity level of 90% and the sizes of more than 100 bp were identified. Substantial contribution of transposable elements to the gene origin, as well as mosaic evolution of certain elements of the Xist locus was demonstrated. It is likely that the ancestral gene consisted of ten exons and was formed before the radiation of placental mammals, in the period from 140 to 105 Myr ago.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2010
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