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Genetics. May 1994; 137(1): 233–241.
PMCID: PMC1205940

Sequences with the Potential to Form Stem-and-Loop Structures Are Associated with Coding-Region Duplications in Animal Mitochondrial DNA


Tandem duplications of gene-encoding regions occur in the mitochondrial DNA (mt DNA) of some individuals belonging to several species of whiptail lizards (genus Cnemidophorus). All or part of the duplicated regions of the mtDNAs from five different species were sequenced. In all, the duplication endpoints were within or immediately adjacent to sequences in tRNA, rRNA or protein genes that are capable of forming energetically stable stem-and-loop structures. In two of these mtDNAs, the duplication endpoints were also associated with a direct sequence repeat of 13 bp. The consistent association of stem-and-loop structures with duplication endpoints suggests that these structures may play a role in the duplication process. These data, combined with the absence of direct or palindromic repeats at three of the pairs of duplication endpoints, also suggest the existence of a mechanism for generating de novo duplications that is qualitatively different from those previously modeled.

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Selected References

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