We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.
Biology

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

In Genetics, What Is Synteny?

By Karize Uy
Updated: May 21, 2024
References

The science of genetics, which studies singular genes in themselves and how they affect the body, defines synteny as an occurrence where two or more genes are located in the same chromosome shared by different species. The science of genomics, which takes into context all the genes and their interrelations with one another, further specifies the concept as the shared genes having a specific order. For example, if species A has genes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, while species B has genes 1, 2, 5, 3, and 4, both species are said to have “syntenic genes” given that genes 1 and 2 are arranged in the same order. The main point of the concept of synteny is the discovery of genetic histories and relatedness of species among each other.

The etymology of the word “synteny” can be traced from two Greek words: “syn,” meaning “along with”, and “tainia,” which means “band.” When combined, the words are translated as “on the same ribbon.” One of the first studies regarding gene synteny was the observation of bacteria with multiple chromosomes, such as the “rhodobacter sphaeroides” and “burkholderia cepacia” strains, in which some of the chromosomes contained the same genes. Studies regarding syntenic genes expanded when the genome sequence of the fruit fly species “drosophila melanogaster” had been completely decoded in the year 2000. Soon after, genome sequences of 11 other species of fruit flies were decoded, enabling geneticists and genomists alike to carry out comparative analyses of the flies’ genomes.

Many scientists point to the theory of evolution as the cause of synteny. The premise is that in the beginning, the genome of a particular species is arranged in a certain way, but as subsequent generations and different species are produced over thousands or millions of years, the genome sequence becomes somewhat jumbled. These small divergences are said to occur very slowly, with about 200,000 years of interval in between each occurrence

For evolutionary theorists, synteny could be an implication of a single and common ancestry, given that many animals share a large percentage of similar syntenic sequences. In fact, several studies have shown that about 90% of both the human and mouse genomes are arranged similarly. Other scientists, however, say that synteny is not necessarily proof for the theory of evolution and a single ancestry, but merely illustrates that species go through processes of adaptation, instead of evolution. The concept also shows that all living creatures, including flora, are created with an “intelligent design” using similar materials that are assembled differently.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
Share
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.