Quantification of insect genome divergence

The recent sequencing of twelve insect genomes has enabled us to quantify their divergence using synteny conservation and sequence identity of single-copy orthologs. Protein identity correlates well with synteny and is about three times more conserved, an observation consistent with comparisons among vertebrates. The observed distribution of the lengths of synteny blocks follows a power law and differs from the expectations of the currently accepted random breakage model. Our results show that there is only limited selection for conservation of gene order and reveal a few hundred genes, proximity among which seems to be vital.

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