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Biosystems. 2014 Nov;125:22-31. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2014.09.012. Epub 2014 Oct 3.

Mitochondrial swinger replication: DNA replication systematically exchanging nucleotides and short 16S ribosomal DNA swinger inserts.

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Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Émergentes, Faculté de Médecine, URMITE CNRS-IRD 198 UMER 6236, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France. Electronic address:


Assuming systematic exchanges between nucleotides (swinger RNAs) resolves genomic 'parenthood' of some orphan mitochondrial transcripts. Twenty-three different systematic nucleotide exchanges (bijective transformations) exist. Similarities between transcription and replication suggest occurrence of swinger DNA. GenBank searches for swinger DNA matching the 23 swinger versions of human and mouse mitogenomes detect only vertebrate mitochondrial swinger DNA for swinger type AT+CG (from five different studies, 149 sequences) matching three human and mouse mitochondrial genes: 12S and 16S ribosomal RNAs, and cytochrome oxidase subunit I. Exchange A<->T+C<->G conserves self-hybridization properties, putatively explaining swinger biases for rDNA, against protein coding genes. Twenty percent of the regular human mitochondrial 16S rDNA consists of short swinger repeats (from 13 exchanges). Swinger repeats could originate from recombinations between regular and swinger DNA: duplicated mitochondrial genes of the parthenogenetic gecko Heteronotia binoei include fewer short A<->T+C<->G swinger repeats than non-duplicated mitochondrial genomes of that species. Presumably, rare recombinations between female and male mitochondrial genes (and in parthenogenetic situations between duplicated genes), favors reverse-mutations of swinger repeat insertions, probably because most inserts affect negatively ribosomal function. Results show that swinger DNA exists, and indicate that swinger polymerization contributes to the genesis of genetic material and polymorphism.


3′-to-5′ Polymerization; Asexual vertebrate reproduction; Gene duplication; Invertase; Mitochondrial recombination; Mitochondrial replication; Swinger DNA polymerization; Swinger repeat

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