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Genes (Basel). 2017 Oct 6;8(10). pii: E260. doi: 10.3390/genes8100260.

Intercompartmental Piecewise Gene Transfer.

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Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Gene relocation from the residual genomes of organelles to the nuclear genome still continues, although as a scaled down evolutionary phenomenon, limited in occurrence mostly to protists (sensu lato) and land plants. During this process, the structural integrity of transferred genes is usually preserved. However, the relocation of mitochondrial genes that code for respiratory chain and ribosomal proteins is sometimes associated with their fragmentation into two complementary genes. Herein, this review compiles cases of piecewise gene transfer from the mitochondria to the nucleus, and discusses hypothesized mechanistic links between the fission and relocation of those genes.


endosymbiotic gene transfer; functional gene fragmentation; mitochondrial DNA; mobile elements

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