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Keywords:

  • Bifunctionality;
  • gene recruitment;
  • neofunctionalisation;
  • pathway evolution;
  • plant secondary metabolism;
  • subfunctionalisation

Abstract

Gene duplications are regarded as one of the central mechanisms for the origin of new genes. Recent studies in plant secondary metabolism have provided several examples of genes that originated by duplication with successive diversification. In this review, the mechanisms of gene duplication are explained and several models discussed that suggest the way that gene duplicates develop into genes with new functions. Signatures of gene duplication and diversification processes are discussed using the biosynthesis of benzoxazinones and of pyrrolizidine alkaloids as examples.