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Mitochondrial DNA. 2012 Jun;23(3):208-15. doi: 10.3109/19401736.2012.668895.

Interspecific variation in mitochondrial serine transfer RNA (UCN) in Euptychiina butterflies (Lepidoptera: Satyrinae): structure and alignment.

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  • 1Laboratorio de Biología y Sistemática de Insectos, Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Medellín, Medellín, Colombia. mamarin0@unal.edu.co


The nucleotide variation and structural patterns of mitochondrial RNA molecule have been proposed as useful tools in molecular systematics; however, their usefulness is always subject to a proper assessment of homology in the sequence alignment. The present study describes the secondary structure of mitochondrial tRNA for the amino acid serine (UCN) on 13 Euptychiina species and the evaluation of its potential use for evolutionary studies in this group of butterflies. The secondary structure of tRNAs showed variation among the included species except between Hermeuptychia sp1 and sp2. Variation was concentrated in the ribotimidina-pseudouridine-cystosine (TψC), dihydrouridine (DHU) and variable loops and in the DHU and TψC arms. These results suggest this region as a potential marker useful for taxonomic differentiation of species in this group and also confirm the importance of including information from the secondary structure of tRNA to optimize the alignments.

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