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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics