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J Mol Evol. 1992 Feb;34(2):163-74.

Three patterns of mitochondrial DNA nucleotide divergence in the meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus.

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Department of Biology, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11550.


The DNA sequence was determined for the cytochrome c oxidase II (COII), tRNALys, and ATPase 8 genes from the mitochondrial genome of the meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus. When compared to other rodents, three different patterns of evolutionary divergence were found. Nucleotide variation in tRNALys is concentrated in the T psi C loop. Nucleotide variation in the COII gene in three genera of rodents (Microtus, Mus, Rattus) consists predominantly of transitions in the third base positions of codons. The predicted amino acid sequence in highly conserved (greater than 92% similarity). Analysis of the ATPase 8 gene among four genera (Microtus, Cricetulus, Mus, Rattus) revealed more detectable transversions than transitions, many fixed first and second position mutations, and considerable amino acid divergence. The rate of nucleotide substitution at nonsynonymous sites in the ATPase 8 gene is 10 times the rate in the COII gene. In contrast, the estimated absolute mutation rate as determined by analysis of nucleotide substitutions at fourfold degenerate sites probably is the same for the two genes. The primary sequences of the ATPase 8 and COII peptides are constrained differently, but each peptide is conserved in terms of predicted secondary-level configuration.

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