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International Journal of Genomics
Volume 2013, Article ID 105108, 7 pages
Research Article

The Novelty of Human Cancer/Testis Antigen Encoding Genes in Evolution

1The Biomedical Center, Saint Petersburg 194044, Russia
2Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg 190004, Russia

Received 9 October 2012; Revised 16 January 2013; Accepted 13 February 2013

Academic Editor: Ancha Baranova

Copyright © 2013 Pavel Dobrynin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In order to be inherited in progeny generations, novel genes should originate in germ cells. Here, we suggest that the testes may play a special “catalyst” role in the birth and evolution of new genes. Cancer/testis antigen encoding genes (CT genes) are predominantly expressed both in testes and in a variety of tumors. By the criteria of evolutionary novelty, the CT genes are, indeed, novel genes. We performed homology searches for sequences similar to human CT in various animals and established that most of the CT genes are either found in humans only or are relatively recent in their origin. A majority of all human CT genes originated during or after the origin of Eutheria. These results suggest relatively recent origin of human CT genes and align with the hypothesis of the special role of the testes in the evolution of the gene families.