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Curr Genet. 1991 Aug;20(3):195-8.

Contrasting mutation rates in mitochondrial and nuclear genes of yeasts versus mammals.

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  • 1Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, A.C.T.


Base substitutions have been compared in two mitochondrial and two nuclear genes from three yeasts and three mammals. In yeasts, the two mitochondrial genes, cytochrome oxidase subunit 2 (COX2) and apocytochrome b (CYB), have fewer changes on a percentage basis than the nuclear-encoded cytochrome c (CYC) gene. By contrast, in mammals, the same mitochondrial genes have more mutations than CYC on a percentage basis. Sequence comparisons of the nuclear small-subunit ribosomal RNA (nSSU) gene shows that there are more substitutions per unit length in the three yeasts than in the three mammals. This result suggests that although the yeasts are more distantly related than the mammals, their mitochondrial genes have accumulated fewer changes.

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