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Diagnosing duplications--can it be done?
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New genes arise through duplication and modification of DNA sequences on a range of scales: single gene duplication, duplication of large chromosomal fragments and whole-genome duplication. Each duplication mechanism has specific characteristics that influence the fate of the resulting duplicates, such as the size of the duplicated fragment, the potential for dosage imbalance, the preservation or disruption of regulatory control and genomic context. The ability to diagnose or identify the mechanism that produced a pair of paralogs has the potential to increase our ability to reconstruct evolutionary history, to understand the processes that govern genome evolution and to make functional predictions based on paralogy. The recent availability of large amounts of whole-genome sequence, often from several closely related species, has stimulated a wealth of new computational methods to diagnose gene duplications.