It has long been known that genomes vary over a remarkable range of sizes in both plants (Bennett, Cox, and Leitch 1997) and animals (Gregory 2001). It also has become evident that across the broad phylogenetic sweep, genome size may be correlated with intron size (Deutsch and Long 1999; Vinogradov 1999; McLysaght et al. 2000), suggesting that some component of genome size evolution takes place within genes. Examples include humans and pufferfish (Fugu), where comparisons of 199 introns in 22 orthologous genes showed that introns in Fugu were on average eight times as small as those in humans, consistent with their ratio of genome sizes (McLysaght et al. 2000). Similarly, Deutsch and Long (1999) tabulated intron sizes across a broad phylogenetic spectrum of eukaryotes and noted a general but weak correlation with genome size, with humans having the most and longest introns (mean of 3.4 kbp) among the 10 taxa studied. Intron size is also correlated with genome size in Drosophila (Moriyama, Petrov, and Hartl 1998), showing that the correlation may extend to more recent divergences.
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