A-to-I RNA editing uncovers hidden signals of adaptive genome evolution in animals

Niko Popitsch, Christian D. Huber, Ilana Buchumenski, Eli Eisenberg, Michael Jantsch, Arndt von Haeseler, Miguel Gallach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

In animals, the most common type of RNA editing is the deamination of adenosines (A) into inosines (I). Because inosines basepair with cytosines (C), they are interpreted as guanosines (G) by the cellular machinery and genomically encoded G alleles at edited sites mimic the function of edited RNAs. The contribution of this hardwiring effect on genome evolution remains obscure. We looked for population genomics signatures of adaptive evolution associated with A-to-I RNA edited sites in humans and Drosophila melanogaster. We found that single nucleotide polymorphisms at edited sites occur 3 (humans) to 15 times (Drosophila) more often than at unedited sites, the nucleotide G is virtually the unique alternative allele at edited sites and G alleles segregate at higher frequency at edited sites than at unedited sites. Our study reveals that a significant fraction of coding synonymous and nonsynonymous as well as silent and intergenic A-to-I RNA editing sites are likely adaptive in the distantly related human and Drosophila lineages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-357
Number of pages13
JournalGenome biology and evolution
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics

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