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Trends Genet. 1990 Apr;6(4):115-20.

Contrasting modes and tempos of genome evolution in land plant organelles.

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Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington 47405.


Despite inhabiting the same cell lineage for roughly a billion years and being dependent on the same nucleus for most of their gene products and genetic control, the two organelle genomes of land plants exhibit remarkably different tempos and patterns of evolutionary change. With a few notable exceptions, chloroplast genomes are highly conserved in size and gene arrangement, whereas mitochondrial genomes vary enormously in size and organization. Conversely, nucleotide substitution rates are on average several times higher in chloroplast DNA than in mitochondrial DNA. Mechanistic and selective forces underlying these differences are only poorly understood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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