Cloning of the Drosophila Shaker gene established that a neurological phenotype including locomotor dysfunction can be caused by a mutation in a voltage-gated potassium (K) channel gene. Shaker sequences have been used to isolate a large family of related K channel genes from both flies and mammals. Toward elucidating the evolutionary relationship between loci and the potential causal connection that K channels may have to mammalian genetic disorders, we report here the genetic mapping of 12-16 different murine, voltage-gated K channel genes. We find that multiple genes, in some cases from distantly related K channel subfamilies, occur in clusters in the mouse genome. These mapping results suggest that the K channel gene subfamilies arose through ancient localized gene duplication events, followed by chromosomal duplications and rearrangements as well as further gene duplication. We also note that several neurologic disorders of both mouse and human are associated with the chromosomal regions containing K channel genes.
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