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Multigene Families: Evolution

  1. J Bruce Walsh1,
  2. Wolfgang Stephan2

Published Online: 30 APR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001702.pub2



How to Cite

Walsh, J. B. and Stephan, W. 2008. Multigene Families: Evolution. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA

  2. 2

    University of Munich, Munich, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 APR 2008


Groups of genes showing similarity with each other are referred to as a gene family, arising from wholesale or partial gene duplication. The clustering of functionally related members of a gene family reflects their common ancestry and subsequent duplication and divergence. It has been speculated that gene duplication is essential for the creation of major evolutionary novelty. Genome projects will help in understanding the importance of gene duplications underlying macroevolutionary events.


  • paralogous genes;
  • orthologous genes;
  • pseudogenes;
  • processed pseudogenes;
  • concerted evolution