Scientists have speculated that the two whole genome duplications that occurred early in chordate evolution may have led to the diversity and complexity of chordates we see today. Why might whole genome duplications have allowed for increased complexity and diversity? The Impact of Whole Genome Duplications on Chordate Complexity and Diversity

The Impact of Whole Genome Duplications on Chordate Complexity and Diversity

Whole genome duplication (WGD) is the process of an organism’s entire genome being replicated. This phenomenon has been observed in organisms such as yeast, plants, and fish, and is theorized to have occurred twice in early chordate evolution (Zhang, 2018). It is hypothesized that WGD allowed for the complexity and diversity of chordates seen today. One way in which WGD may have led to increased complexity is through the introduction of new gene regulatory networks (Mayer et al., 2021). Following WGD, two copies of the same gene may evolve to undertake different roles. This allows for the emergence of new biological functions, resulting in increased complexity. Another way in which WGD may have led to increased diversity is through altered gene expression (Liu et al., 2016). Following WGD, gene expression levels may change as a result of altered regulatory elements. This can lead to the emergence of new biological forms, resulting in increased diversity. Cont….

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