Increase of functional diversity by alternative splicing.
A large-scale analysis of protein isoforms arising from alternative splicing shows that alternative splicing tends to insert or delete complete protein domains more frequently than expected by chance, whereas disruption of domains and other structural modules is less frequent. If domain regions are disrupted, the functional effect, as predicted from 3D structure, is frequently equivalent to removal of the entire domain. Also, short alternative splicing events within domains, which might preserve folded structure, target functional residues more frequently than expected. Thus, it seems that positive selection has had a major role in the evolution of alternative splicing.