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Trends Genet. 2005 Dec;21(12):655-63. Epub 2005 Oct 10.

Origin, evolution and genetic effects of nuclear insertions of organelle DNA.

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  • 1Department Biologie I, Botanik, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit√§t, Menzingerstr. 67, D-80638 M√ľnchen, Germany.


In eukaryotes, nuclear genomes are subject to an influx of DNA from mitochondria and plastids. The nuclear insertion of organellar sequences can occur during the illegitimate repair of double-stranded breaks. After integration, nuclear organelle DNA is modified by point mutations, and by deletions. Insertion of organelle DNA into nuclear genes is not rare and can potentially have harmful effects. In humans, some insertions of nuclear mitochondrial DNA are associated with heritable diseases. It remains to be determined whether nuclear organelle DNA can contribute beneficially to gene evolution.

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