Novel start codons introduce novel coding sequences in the human genomes

He Zhang, Yang Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Start-gain mutations can introduce novel start codons and generate novel coding sequences that may affect the function of genes. In this study, we systematically investigated the novel start codons that were either polymorphic or fixed in the human genomes. 829 polymorphic start-gain SNVs were identified in the human populations, and the novel start codons introduced by these SNVs have significantly higher activity in translation initiation. Some of these start-gain SNVs were reported to be associated with phenotypes and diseases in previous studies. By comparative genomic analysis, we found 26 human-specific start codons that were fixed after the divergence between the human and chimpanzee, and high-level translation initiation activity was observed on them. The negative selection signal was detected in the novel coding sequences introduced by these human-specific start codons, indicating the important function of these novel coding sequences. This study reveals start-gain mutations are keeping appearing in the human genomes during the evolution and may be important sources altering the function of genes which may further affect the phenotypes or cause diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Nov 5 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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