Abstracts (first author)
Unstable tandem repeats in primate promoters enhance expression divergence
Tandem repeats in eukaryotic gene promoters can change gene expression drastically due to their extremely low stability. We hypothesized that unstable tandem repeats in promoters increase expression divergence along the primate phylogeny. A search for tandem repeats in promoter regions of 13,000 human, chimpanzee and macaque orthologous genes revealed that 30 % of primate promoters contain tandem repeats. Genes driven by these repeat-containing promoters show significantly higher rates of expression divergence. More specifically, we found a significant correlation between repeat instability and expression divergence. This relation might explain gene expression divergence in more special cases, as in gene duplication events or in disease formation.