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Annu Rev Genet. 2004;38:477-524.

Mitochondria of protists.

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Robert Cedergren Center, Program in Evolutionary Biology, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Canada.


Over the past several decades, our knowledge of the origin and evolution of mitochondria has been greatly advanced by determination of complete mitochondrial genome sequences. Among the most informative mitochondrial genomes have been those of protists (primarily unicellular eukaryotes), some of which harbor the most gene-rich and most eubacteria-like mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNAs) known. Comparison of mtDNA sequence data has provided insights into the radically diverse trends in mitochondrial genome evolution exhibited by different phylogenetically coherent groupings of eukaryotes, and has allowed us to pinpoint specific protist relatives of the multicellular eukaryotic lineages (animals, plants, and fungi). This comparative genomics approach has also revealed unique and fascinating aspects of mitochondrial gene expression, highlighting the mitochondrion as an evolutionary playground par excellence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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