- Conservation (genetics)
Conservation refers to a high degree of similarity in orthologous
DNA sequences, protein sequences, or protein structures amongst various phyla. A highly conserved protein is often related to an important cellular function. It had been widely believed that mutationin a "highly conserved" region leads to a non-viable life form, or a form that is eliminated through natural selection. Highly conserved proteins are often required for basic cellular function, stability or reproduction.
Highly conserved DNA sequence is also thought to have functional value. The role for many of these highly conserved non-coding DNA sequences is not understood. One recent study that eliminated four highly-conserved non-coding DNA sequences in mice yielded viable mice with no significant phenotypic differences; the authors described their findings as "unexpected".cite journal | author = Ahituv N, Zhu Y, Visel A, "et al" | title = Deletion of ultraconserved elements yields viable mice | journal = PLoS Biol. | volume = 5 | issue = 9 | pages = e234 | year = 2007 | pmid = 17803355 | doi = 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050234]
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