Skip to main content


We’d like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest.

Ancient introns

The origins of introns and their evolutionary role remain unclear. In the November 6 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Fedorov et al. describe the use of a computer program, called INTRONMAP to present evidence for the existence of ancient introns (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:13177-13182). They used the program to map intron positions onto homologous genes encoding proteins for which the three-dimensional structure is known. They applied the program to 665 nonredundant protein sequences in the Protein Data Bank and mapped over 8,000 introns. The result was a correlation of phase-zero introns with module boundaries in proteins, corresponding to ancient conserved regions (ACR). There was no correlation for phase-one or phase-two positions, or for non-ACR proteins (which presumably represent 'modern' genes).


  1. 1.

    What introns have to tell us: hierarchy in genome evolution.

  2. 2.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, []

  3. 3.

    INTONMAP, []

  4. 4.

    Protein Data Bank, []

Download references


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Weitzman, J.B. Ancient introns. Genome Biol 2, spotlight-20011113-01 (2001).

Download citation


  • Protein Sequence
  • Computer Program
  • Homologous Gene
  • Protein Data
  • Module Boundary