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Curr Genet. 1988 Nov;14(5):501-9.

Location, identity, amount and serial entry of chloroplast DNA sequences in crucifer mitochondrial DNAs.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109.


Southern blot hybridization techniques were used to examine the chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) sequences present in the mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNAs) of two Brassica species (B. campestris and B. hirta), two closely related species belonging to the same tribe as Brassica (Raphanus sativa, Crambe abyssinica), and two more distantly related species of crucifers (Arabidopsis thaliana, Capsella bursa-pastoris). The two Brassica species and R. sativa contain roughly equal amounts (12-14 kb) of cpDNA sequences integrated within their 208-242 kb mtDNAs. Furthermore, the 11 identified regions of transferred DNA, which include the 5' end of the chloroplast psaA gene and the central segment of rpoB, have the same mtDNA locations in these three species. Crambe abyssinica mtDNA has the same complement of cpDNA sequences, plus an additional major region of cpDNA sequence similarity which includes the 16S rRNA gene. Therefore, except for the more recently arrived 16S rRNA gene, all of these cpDNA sequences appear to have entered the mitochondrial genome in the common ancestor of these three genera. The mitochondrial genomes of A. thaliana and Capsella bursa-pastoris contain significantly less cpDNA (5-7 kb) than the four other mtDNAs. However, certain cpDNA sequences, including the central portion of the rbcL gene and the 3' end of the psaA gene, are shared by all six crucifer mtDNAs and appear to have been transferred in a common ancestor of the crucifer family over 30 million years ago. In conclusion, DNA has been transferred sequentially from the chloroplast to the mitochondrion during crucifer evolution and there cpDNA sequences can persist in the mitochondrial genome over long periods of evolutionary time.

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