Retroposition is a widespread phenomenon resulting in the generation of new genes that are initially related to a parent gene via very high coding sequence similarity. We examine the evolutionary fate of four retrogenes generated by such an event; mouse Inpp5f_v2, Mcts2, Nap1l5, and U2af1-rs1. These genes are all subject to the epigenetic phenomenon of parental imprinting. We first provide new data on the age of these retrogene insertions. Using codon-based models of sequence evolution, we show these retrogenes have diverse evolutionary trajectories, including divergence from the parent coding sequence under positive selection pressure, purifying selection pressure maintaining parent-retrogene similarity, and neutral evolution. Examination of the expression pattern of retrogenes shows an atypical, broad pattern across multiple tissues. Protein 3D structure modeling reveals that a positively selected residue in U2af1-rs1, not shared by its parent, may influence protein conformation. Our case-by-case analysis of the evolution of four imprinted retrogenes reveals that this interesting class of imprinted genes, while similar in regulation and sequence characteristics, follow very varied evolutionary paths.
McCole RB, Loughran NB, Chahal M, Fernandes LP, Roberts RG, Fraternali F, O’Connell MJ, Oakey RJ (2011) A Case-by-case evolutionary analysis of four Imprinted retrogenes. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01213.x Evolution. pdf .