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Gene family

[gene families]

A term used to describe genes that display enough nucleotide sequence homologies to permit their classification as a member of a group of related genes. Such genes have usually arisen from a common ancestor by gene duplication or amplification and have diverged subsequently by mutations. Examples of such families of genes are the genes encoding ribosomal RNA, some histone and globin genes (alpha-globins and beta-globins), genes encoding human Growth hormone, actin genes, genes encoding serine proteases, vitellogenin genes, and major histocompatibility antigen genes.

It has been proposed that the term family be used for proteins that have very closely related sequences with greater than 50 % amino acid identity.

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