Can You Find the Typo?
Manyuan Long is one of the leaders in the field of gene duplication. His work on retroposed genes (genes that are transcribed into RNA, reverse transcribed back to DNA, and then inserted into the genome) has yielded insights into the origins of new genes and differences in selective pressures between genes on X-chromosomes compared to autosomes. That said, I just realized that he wrote the following in the abstract of one of his papers:
We focused on the origin of new genes by exon shuffling and retroposition. We will first summarize our experimental work, which revealed four new genes in Drosophila, plants, and humans. These genes are 106 to 108 million years old. The recency of these genes allows us to directly examine the origin and evolution of genes in detail.Did you notice it? I'll admit, I didn't pick it up until just now -- easily the tenth time I've read the abstract. Look at the age of the genes . . . yes, Dr. Long claims they are 1 trillion to 100 trillion years old. I'd hardly call those recently duplicated genes. In fact, they're older the universe itself (let alone the Earth). I think he meant to say "These genes are 106 to 108 years old," but I need to go through the paper to figure it out. This is the kind of error you would expect to be corrected in peer-review. And, no, Genetica has not issued a correction, or they if they did, it's not posted along with the article.