The "exon shuffling" model of protein evolution suggests that exons encode functional domains of protein, and can be shuffled to create proteins with novel functions.

function, that increases the capabilities of the organism. The modification of duplicated genes therefore provides the diversity that is acted on by natural selection. An increase in the rate of gene duplication is thought to be one factor contributing to the diversification of multicellular organisms during the so-called Cambrian explosion 600 million years ago, which gave rise to most of the basic animal forms that exist today.

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