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Variables Influencing Differences in Sequence Conservation in the Fission Yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe
Journal of Molecular Evolution  (IF2.395),  Pub Date : 2021-08-26, DOI: 10.1007/s00239-021-10028-y
Harnqvist, Simon Emanuel, Grace, Cooper Alastair, Jeffares, Daniel Charlton

Which variables determine the constraints on gene sequence evolution is one of the most central questions in molecular evolution. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, an important model organism, the variables influencing the rate of sequence evolution have yet to be determined. Previous studies in other single celled organisms have generally found gene expression levels to be most significant, with numerous other variables such as gene length and functional importance identified as having a smaller impact. Using publicly available data, we used partial least squares regression, principal components regression, and partial correlations to determine the variables most strongly associated with sequence evolution constraints. We identify centrality in the protein–protein interactions network, amino acid composition, and cellular location as the most important determinants of sequence conservation. However, each factor only explains a small amount of variance, and there are numerous variables having a significant or heterogeneous influence. Our models explain more than half of the variance in dN, raising the possibility that future refined models could quantify the role of stochastics in evolutionary rate variation.