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Mol Biol Evol. 1996 Apr;13(4):623-32.

Zea ribosomal repeat evolution and substitution patterns.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211, USA.


Zea and Tripsacum nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences were used to evaluate patterns of concerted evolution, rates of substitutions, patterns of methylation-induced deamination, and structural constraints of the ITS. ITS pseudogenes were identified by their phylogenetic position, differences in nucleotide composition, extensive deamination at ancestral methylation sites, and substitutions resulting in low-stability secondary RNA structures. Selection was important in shaping the kinds of polymorphisms and substitutions observed in the ITS. ITS substitution rates were significantly different among the Zea taxa. Deamination of cytosines at methylation sites was a potent mutation source, but selection appeared to maintain high methylation site density throughout the ribosomal repeat except for the gene promoter. Nucleotide divergence statistics identified selectively constrained regions at the 5' ends of the ITS1 and ITS2.

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