Evolution after gene duplication: models, mechanisms, sequences, systems, and organisms.
Gene duplication is postulated to have played a major role in the evolution of biological novelty. Here, gene duplication is examined across levels of biological organization in an attempt to create a unified picture of the mechanistic process by which gene duplication can have played a role in generating biodiversity. Neofunctionalization and subfunctionalization have been proposed as important processes driving the retention of duplicate genes. These models have foundations in population genetic theory, which is now being refined by explicit consideration of the structural constraints placed upon genes encoding proteins through physical chemistry. Further, such models can be examined in the context of comparative genomics, where an integration of gene-level evolution and species-level evolution allows an assessment of the frequency of duplication and the fate of duplicate genes. This process, of course, is dependent upon the biochemical role that duplicated genes play in biological systems, which is in turn dependent upon the mechanism of duplication: whole genome duplication involving a co-duplication of interacting partners vs. single gene duplication. Lastly, the role that these processes may have played in driving speciation is examined.