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Genetica. 2008 Jan;132(1):21-33. Epub 2007 Feb 27.

Molecular analyses of mitochondrial pseudogenes within the nuclear genome of arvicoline rodents.

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  • 1Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, 195 Marsteller Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA. dtriant@cvm.tamu.edu

Abstract

Nuclear sequences of mitochondrial origin (numts) are common among animals and plants. The mechanism(s) by which numts transfer from the mitochondrion to the nucleus is uncertain, but their insertions may be mediated in part by chromosomal repair mechanisms. If so, then lineages where chromosomal rearrangements are common should be good models for the study of numt evolution. Arvicoline rodents are known for their karyotypic plasticity and numt pseudogenes have been discovered in this group. Here, we characterize a 4 kb numt pseudogene in the arvicoline vole Microtus rossiaemeridionalis. This sequence is among the largest numts described for a mammal lacking a completely sequenced genome. It encompasses three protein-coding and six tRNA pseudogenes that span approximately 25% of the entire mammalian mitochondrial genome. It is bordered by a dinucleotide microsatellite repeat and contains four transposable elements within its sequence and flanking regions. To determine the phylogenetic distribution of this numt among the arvicolines, we characterized one of the mitochondrial pseudogenes (cytochrome b) in 21 additional arvicoline species. Average rates of nucleotide substitution in this arvicoline pseudogene are estimated as 2.3 x 10(-8) substitutions/per site/per year. Furthermore, we performed comparative analyses among all species to estimate the age of this mitochondrial transfer at nearly 4 MYA, predating the origin of most arvicolines.

PMID:
17333478
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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