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Ancestral Sequence Reconstruction$
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David A Liberles

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199299188

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299188.001.0001

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Experimental resurrection of ancient biomolecules: gene synthesis, heterologous protein expression, and functional assays

Experimental resurrection of ancient biomolecules: gene synthesis, heterologous protein expression, and functional assays

Chapter:
(p.153) CHAPTER 14 Experimental resurrection of ancient biomolecules: gene synthesis, heterologous protein expression, and functional assays
Source:
Ancestral Sequence Reconstruction
Author(s):

Eric A. Gaucher

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299188.003.0014

Approximately twenty studies have emerged where specific molecular systems from extinct organisms have been resurrected for study in the laboratory. These include digestive proteins (ribonucleases, proteases, and lysozymes) in ruminants and primates, which are used to illustrate how digestive function arose from non-digestive function in response to a changing global ecosystem; fermentive enzymes from fungi, which are used to illustrate how molecular adaptation supported mammals as they displaced dinosaurs as the dominant large land animals; pigments in the visual system adapting to different environments; steroid hormone receptors adapting to changing function in steroid-based regulation of metazoans; fluorescent proteins from ocean-dwelling invertebrates; enzyme cofactor evolution; and proteins from very ancient bacteria helping to define environments where the earliest forms of bacterial life lived. This chapter summarizes the different approaches exploited by these studies. The chapter outlines the different strategies exploited when building ancient genes in the laboratory, the various systems used to express the encoded proteins of the ancient genes, and the different types of functional assay used to characterize the behaviors of the ancient biomolecules.

Keywords:   site-directed mutagenesis, gene synthesis, codon optimization, ancestral genes, functional assays, ancestral resurrection studies

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