Genome and protein evolution in eukaryotes.
The past year has seen the completion of the genome sequence of the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the initial sequence reports of the human genome. The availability of completely sequenced eukaryotic genomes from disparate phylogenetic lineages has opened the door to comparative analyses and a better understanding of the evolutionary processes shaping genomes. Complex many-to-many relationships between genes from different species appear to be the norm, suggesting that transfer of detailed functional annotation will not be straightforward. In addition to expansion and contraction of gene families, new genes evolve from recombination of pre-existing domains, although some domain families do appear to have evolved recently and to be specific to restricted phylogenetic lineages. The overall picture is of a huge diversity of gene content within eukaryotic genomes, reflecting different functional demands in different species.