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Gene. 1988 Jun 30;66(2):215-22.

Identification of functional open reading frames in chloroplast genomes.

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Department of Genetics, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.


We have used a rapid computer dot-matrix comparison method to identify all DNA regions which have been evolutionarily conserved between the completely sequenced chloroplast genomes of tobacco and a liverwort. Analysis of these regions reveals 74 homologous open reading frames (ORFs) which have been conserved as to length and amino acid sequence; these ORFs also have an excess of nucleotide substitutions at silent sites of codons. Since the nonfunctional parts of these genomes have become saturated with mutations and show no sequence similarity whatsoever, the homologous ORFs are almost certainly functional. A further four pairs of ORFs show homology limited to only a short part of their putative gene products. Amino acid sequence identities range between 50 and 99%; some chloroplast proteins are seen to be among the most slowly evolving of all known proteins. A search of the nucleotide and amino acid sequence databanks has revealed several previously unidentified genes in chloroplast sequences from other species, but no new homologies to prokaryotic genes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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