The dynamic genome: a general introduction
Its structure, redundancy and plasticity make the genome a dynamic system. This chapter gives an introductory evolutionary view of these genome characteristics focusing on the unanticipated uncoupling between organism complexity and genome size (the C-value paradox). Some approaches to this paradox are presented ranging from genome dynamics to population dynamics. While it may be too early to understand in full the genome dynamics, some case studies in comparative genomics are presented that vindicate the central role of population genetics to understand genome evolution. The roles of duplication, transposition, RNA regulation, and the, recently discovered, structural DNA variants are introduced as examples of the genome evolutionary dynamics and show how the combined population, functional, and structural approaches are enlightening our view on genome evolution. The chapter ends with a deep introductory reflection on the dual role of chance (random variation) and necessity (natural selection) in the building of a dynamic genome.
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