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Published November 22, 1994 | Published
Journal Article Open

Molecular evolution of the MyoD family of transcription factors


Myogenesis in skeletal muscle is a cascade of developmental events whose initiation involves the MyoD family of transcription factors. Evolutionary analyses of amino acid sequences of this family of transcriptional activators suggest that the vertebrate genes MyoD1, myf-5, Myog (myogenin), and myf-6 were derived by gene duplications from a single ancestral gene. A common genetic origin predicts some functional redundancy between MyoD1 and myf-5 and between Myog and myf-6. Experimental studies have suggested that these pairs of genes can substitute for each other during myogenesis. Separate analyses of the conserved basic helix-loop-helix and nonconserved flanking elements yield similar branching sequences but show evolutionary change in the basic helix-loop-helix region has occurred at a much slower rate.

Additional Information

© 1994 National Academy of Sciences. Contributed by Walter M. Fitch, August 17, 1994. We thank Drs. Charles Ordahl, Brian Williams, Susan Bryant, Eric Olson, and Michael Miyamoto for helpful comments on the manuscript and Helene Van for technical assistance. One of us (W.R.A.) is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and by grants from the National Institutes of Health (GM-45344) and the National Science Foundation (BSR-910718). W.M.F. is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (DEB9096152). M.B.-F. was supported by Muscular Dystrophy Association and by grants from the National Institutes of Health (HD-15527, HD-25138, and DE-10066).

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