Some days ago we presented the results of our most recent work on the evolution of new genes at SMBE 2015. In the talk “The link between pervasive transcription and de novo gene evolution” we discussed the possible mechanisms of formation of new genes from regions in the genome which did not previously express any gene. The study was based on transcriptomics data from several mammalian species and focused on genes detected only in the human and chimp lineages. We found that genomic regions that express new genes have gained new regulatory motifs with respect to the corresponding regions in species that do not express the genes. This is consistent with the idea that the formation of new promoters can drive the birth of new genes.
See Haldane’s sieve post for the abstract and link to the preprint Origins of de novo genes in human and chimpanzee. The abstract has been among the Most viewed on Haldane’s sieve July 2015.