Rat Physiology: 2 Insulin Genes

Harold Rees hrees at mail1.sas.upenn.edu
Wed Oct 2 15:29:33 EST 1996

Prince LoLo (g2bfunky at ix.netcom.com) wrote:
: I recently learned that rats have two separate, fully-functional,
: insulin genes.  Are both genes turned on? Or is one gene turned off
: during certain conditions, such as stress or food sources?
Yes, there are two fully-functional genes for rat insulin.  I believe 
that rats are the only species to possess this situation.  Both copies
are always on, and lead to products of the same amino-acid sequence (I 
think).  The hypothesis is that the second copy, which lacks introns 
found in the first, was somehow made by an extremely rare reverse 
transcription of processed mRNA for the longer gene.  How this happened,
I have no idea.  For more information, see the paper from Axel Ullrich's lab
in a past issue of Science (early '80s, I believe), which describes the 
structure of the two genes for rat insulin and provides the sequences.
Hal Rees                                ********************************
Monell Chemical Senses Center           *"Oh well, whatever, nevermind"*
Philadelphia, PA                        *  -Kurt Cobain                * 
hrees at mail.sas.upenn.edu                ********************************

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