Evolutionary relationships between Saccharomyces cerevisiae and other fungal species as determined from genome comparisons
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The increasing number of fungal genomes whose sequence has been completed permits their comparison both at the nucleotide and protein levels. The informa- tion thus obtained improves our knowledge on evolutionary relationships betwe- en fungi. Comparison of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome with other Hemiascomycetes genomes confirms that a whole-genome duplication occurred before the diversification between Candida glabrata and the Saccharomyces sensu stricto species and after separation from the branch leading to the other Hemiascomycetes. Duplication was followed by individual gene losses and re- arrangements affecting extensive DNA regions. Although S. cerevisiae and C. glabrata are two closely related yeast species at an evolutionary scale, their different habitats and life styles correlate with specific gene differences and with more extensive gene loses having occurred in the parasitic C. glabrata. At a clo- ser evolutive scale, diversification among the sensu stricto species began with nucleotide changes at the intergenic regions affecting sequences that are not relevant for gene regulation, together with more extensive genome rearrange- ments involving transposons and telomeric regions. One important characteristic of fungal genomes that is shared with other eukaryotes is the fusion of gene sequences coding for separate protein modules into a single open reading frame. This allows diversification of protein functions while saving gene information.