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Rudert, Fritz; Zimmermann, Wolfgang; Thompson, John A. (1989): Intra- and Interspecies Analyses of the Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) Gene Family Reveal Independent Evolution in Primates and Rodents. In: Journal of Molecular Evolution, Vol. 29, No. 2: pp. 126-134


Various rodent and primate DNAs exhibit a stronger intra- than interspecies cross-hybridization with probes derived from the N-terminal domain exons of human and rat carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)-like genes. Southern analyses also reveal that the human and rat CEA gene families are of similar complexity. We counted at least 10 different genes per human haploid genome. In the rat, approximately seven to nine different N-terminal domain exons that presumably represent different genes appear to be present. We were able to assign the corresponding genomic restriction endonuclease fragments to already isolated CEA gene family members of both human and rat. Highly similar subgroups, as found within the human CEA gene family, seem to be absent from the rat genome. Hybridization with an intron probe from the human nonspecific cross-reacting antigen (NCA) gene and analysis of DNA sequence data indicate the conservation of noncoding regions among CEA-like genes within primates, implicating that whole gene units may have been duplicated. With the help of a computer program and by calculating the rate of synonymous substitutions, evolutionary trees have been derived. From this, we propose that an independent parallel evolution, leading to different CEA gene families, must have taken place in, at least, the primate and rodent orders.