Logo of geneticsGeneticsCurrent IssueInformation for AuthorsEditorial BoardSubscribeSubmit a Manuscript
Genetics. Dec 1989; 123(4): 825–836.
PMCID: PMC1203892

Mitochondrial DNA in the Bark Weevils: Size, Structure and Heteroplasmy


Mitochondrial DNA of higher animals has been described as an example of extreme efficiency in genome structure and function. Where exceptionally large size molecules have been found (>20 kb), most have occurred as rare variants within a species, suggesting that these variants arise infrequently and do not persist for long periods in evolutionary time. In contrast, all individuals of at least three species of bark weevil (Curculionidae: Pissodes) possess a mitochondrial genome of unusually large size (30-36 kb). The molecule owes its large size to a dramatically enlarged A+T-rich region (9-13 kb). Gene content and order outside of this region appear to be identical to that found in Drosophila. A series of 0.8-2.0-kb repeated sequences occur adjacent to the large A+T rich region and have perhaps played a role in the generation of the large size as well as an unprecedented frequency of size variant heteroplasmy. Every weevil sampled in all three species (n = 219) exhibits anywhere from two to five distinct size classes of mtDNA. The persistence of this large amount of size polymorphism through two speciation events combined with the abundant size variation within individuals suggests that these molecules may not be subject to strong selection for small overall size and efficiency of replication. This pattern of variation contrasts strongly with the conservation of gene content and arrangement in the coding region of the molecule.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (3.9M).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Albertini AM, Hofer M, Calos MP, Miller JH. On the formation of spontaneous deletions: the importance of short sequence homologies in the generation of large deletions. Cell. 1982 Jun;29(2):319–328. [PubMed]
  • Bentzen P, Leggett WC, Brown GG. Length and restriction site heteroplasmy in the mitochondrial DNA of american shad (alosa sapidissima). Genetics. 1988 Mar;118(3):509–518. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Bermingham E, Lamb T, Avise JC. Size polymorphism and heteroplasmy in the mitochondrial DNA of lower vertebrates. J Hered. 1986 Jul-Aug;77(4):249–252. [PubMed]
  • Cantatore P, Gadaleta MN, Roberti M, Saccone C, Wilson AC. Duplication and remoulding of tRNA genes during the evolutionary rearrangement of mitochondrial genomes. Nature. 329(6142):853–855. [PubMed]
  • Clary DO, Wolstenholme DR. The mitochondrial DNA molecular of Drosophila yakuba: nucleotide sequence, gene organization, and genetic code. J Mol Evol. 1985;22(3):252–271. [PubMed]
  • de Bruijn MH. Drosophila melanogaster mitochondrial DNA, a novel organization and genetic code. Nature. 1983 Jul 21;304(5923):234–241. [PubMed]
  • Dubin DT, HsuChen CC, Tillotson LE. Mosquito mitochondrial transfer RNAs for valine, glycine and glutamate: RNA and gene sequences and vicinal genome organization. Curr Genet. 1986;10(9):701–707. [PubMed]
  • Feinberg AP, Vogelstein B. A technique for radiolabeling DNA restriction endonuclease fragments to high specific activity. Anal Biochem. 1983 Jul 1;132(1):6–13. [PubMed]
  • Goddard JM, Wolstenholme DR. Origin and direction of replication in mitochondrial DNA molecules from Drosophila melanogaster. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1978 Aug;75(8):3886–3890. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Gyllensten U, Wharton D, Wilson AC. Maternal inheritance of mitochondrial DNA during backcrossing of two species of mice. J Hered. 1985 Sep-Oct;76(5):321–324. [PubMed]
  • Haucke HR, Gellissen G. Different mitochondrial gene orders among insects: exchanged tRNA gene positions in the COII/COIII region between an orthopteran and a dipteran species. Curr Genet. 1988 Nov;14(5):471–476. [PubMed]
  • Hauswirth WW, Van de Walle MJ, Laipis PJ, Olivo PD. Heterogeneous mitochondrial DNA D-loop sequences in bovine tissue. Cell. 1984 Jul;37(3):1001–1007. [PubMed]
  • Lansman RA, Avise JC, Huettel MD. Critical experimental test of the possibility of "paternal leakage" of mitochondrial DNA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1983 Apr;80(7):1969–1971. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Levinson G, Gutman GA. Slipped-strand mispairing: a major mechanism for DNA sequence evolution. Mol Biol Evol. 1987 May;4(3):203–221. [PubMed]
  • MacRae AF, Anderson WW. Evidence for non-neutrality of mitochondrial DNA haplotypes in Drosophila pseudoobscura. Genetics. 1988 Oct;120(2):485–494. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Monnerot M, Mounolou JC, Solignac M. Intra-individual length heterogeneity of Rana esculenta mitochondrial DNA. Biol Cell. 1984;52(3):213–218. [PubMed]
  • Moritz C, Brown WM. Tandem duplication of D-loop and ribosomal RNA sequences in lizard mitochondrial DNA. Science. 1986 Sep 26;233(4771):1425–1427. [PubMed]
  • Moritz C, Brown WM. Tandem duplications in animal mitochondrial DNAs: variation in incidence and gene content among lizards. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1987 Oct;84(20):7183–7187. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Nei M, Tajima F. DNA polymorphism detectable by restriction endonucleases. Genetics. 1981 Jan;97(1):145–163. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Powers TO, Platzer EG, Hyman BC. Large mitochondrial genome and mitochondrial DNA size polymorphism in the mosquito parasite, Romanomermis culicivorax. Curr Genet. 1986;11(1):71–77. [PubMed]
  • Rand DM, Harrison RG. Mitochondrial DNA transmission genetics in crickets. Genetics. 1986 Nov;114(3):955–970. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Sederoff RR. Structural variation in mitochondrial DNA. Adv Genet. 1984;22:1–108. [PubMed]
  • Snyder M, Fraser AR, Laroche J, Gartner-Kepkay KE, Zouros E. Atypical mitochondrial DNA from the deep-sea scallop Placopecten magellanicus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1987 Nov;84(21):7595–7599. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Solignac M, Monnerot M, Mounolou JC. Mitochondrial DNA evolution in the melanogaster species subgroup of Drosophila. J Mol Evol. 1986;23(1):31–40. [PubMed]
  • Solignac M, Génermont J, Monnerot M, Mounolou JC. Drosophila Mitochondrial Genetics: Evolution of Heteroplasmy through Germ Line Cell Divisions. Genetics. 1987 Dec;117(4):687–696. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wallace DC. Mitochondrial DNA mutations and neuromuscular disease. Trends Genet. 1989 Jan;5(1):9–13. [PubMed]
  • Westneat DF, Noon WA, Reeve HK, Aquadro CF. Improved hybridization conditions for DNA 'fingerprints' probed with M13. Nucleic Acids Res. 1988 May 11;16(9):4161–4161. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Yang WN, Zhou XA. rRNA genes are located far away from the D-loop region in Peking duck mitochondrial DNA. Curr Genet. 1988 Apr;13(4):351–355. [PubMed]

Articles from Genetics are provided here courtesy of Genetics Society of America


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...