Genomics 2007 Sep 20;90(3):297-305. Epub 2007 Jun 20.
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.
In genome duplexes that exceed 100 kb the frequency distributions of their trinucleotides (triplet profiles) are the same in both strands. This remarkable symmetry, sometimes called Chargaff's second parity rule, is not the result of base pairing, but can be explained as the result of countless inversions and inverted transpositions that occurred throughout evolution (G. Albrecht-Buehler, 2006, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103, 17828-17833). Furthermore, comparing the triplet profiles of genomes from a large number of different taxa and species revealed that they were not only strand-symmetrical, but even surprisingly similar to one another (majority profile; G. Albrecht-Buehler, 2007, Genomics 89, 596-601). The present article proposes that the same inversion/transposition mechanism(s) that created the strand symmetry may also explain the existence of the majority profile. Thus they may be key factors in the creation of an almost universal "format" in which genome sequences are written. One may speculate that this universality of genome format may facilitate horizontal gene transfer and, thus, accelerate evolution.