Animal and plant globin-encoding genes (Glo) contain two introns in strictly conserved positions. Plant Glo genes possess an additional, centrally located intron. We have determined the cDNA sequence and gene structure of a putative Glo gene from the free-living nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. The gene encodes a one-domain globin with a single intron, corresponding to the central intron of plant Glo genes. The two introns common to virtually all animal and plant Glo genes are missing. Comparison with the related organisms Trichostrongylus colubriformis, Ascaris suum and Pseudoterranova decipiens, provides evidence of gene duplication, intron loss, and functional divergence within the Glo genes of the nematode phylum. It is now apparent that differential intron loss during evolution has generated Glo genes with a panoply of exon/intron permutations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 30 1993


  • Ascaris, phylogeny
  • Evolution
  • intron
  • nematode


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