Whole genome duplication (WGD) has made a significant contribution to many eukaryotic genomes including yeast, plants, and vertebrates. Following WGD, some ohnologs (WGD paralogs) remain in the genome arranged in blocks of conserved gene order and content (paralogons). However, the most common outcome is loss of one of the ohnolog pair. It is unclear what factors, if any, govern gene loss from paralogons. Recent studies have reported physical clustering (genetic linkage) of functionally linked (interacting) genes in the human genome and propose a biological significance for the clustering of interacting genes such as coexpression or preservation of epistatic interactions. Here we conduct a novel test of a hypothesis that functionally linked genes in the same paralogon are preferentially retained in cis after WGD. We compare the number of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) between linked singletons within a paralogon (defined as cis-PPIs) with that of PPIs between singletons across paralogon pairs (defined as trans-PPIs).Wefind that paralogons in which the number of cis-PPIs is greater than that of trans-PPIs are significantly enriched in human and yeast. The trend is similar in plants, but it is difficult to assess statistical significance due to multiple, overlapping WGD events. Interestingly, human singletons participating in cis-PPIs tend to be classified into "response to stimulus." We uncover strong evidence of biased gene loss after WGD, which further supports the hypothesis of biologically significant gene clusters in eukaryotic genomes. These observations give us new insight for understanding the evolution of genome structure and of protein interaction networks.
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