Evolution of cytochrome c genes and pseudogenes

C. I. Wu, W. H. Li*, J. J. Shen, R. C. Scarpulla, K. J. Limbach, R. Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A statistical analysis of the nucleotide sequences of cytochrome c genes from four species of animals and two of yeast and of cytochrome c pseudogenes from rat, mouse, and human was conducted. It was estimated that animals and yeast diverged 1.2 billion years ago, that the two duplicated genes DC3 and DC4 in Drosophila diverged 520 million years ago, and that the two duplicated genes Iso-1 and Iso-2 in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae diverged 200 million years ago. DC3 is expressed at a low level and has evolved 3 times faster than DC4. This observation supports the neutralist view that relaxation of functional constraints is a more likely cause of accelerated evolution following gene duplication than is advantageous mutation. All the rodent pseudogenes examined appear to be processed pseudogenes derived directly from the functional genes, and most of them apparently arose after the mosue-rat split. No event of gene conversion could be detected between any pair of the rodent pseudogenes. Our analysis suggests that the human cytochrome c gene has evolved at a rate comparable to the average rate for pseudogenes, whereas some human cytochrome c pseudogenes have evolved at an exceptionally low rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-75
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1986


  • Accelerated evolution
  • Age of pseudogenes
  • Duplicate genes
  • Phylogenetic relationships
  • Processed pseudogenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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