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Curr Genet. 1997 Mar;31(3):193-207.

Origin and evolution of mitochondria: what have we learnt from red algae?

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Station Biologique de Roscoff, C.N.R.S.-UPR 9042, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, BP 74, F-29682 Roscoff cedex, France.


The purpose of this review is to present an account of our current understanding of the structure, organization and evolution of mitochondrial genomes, and to discuss the origin and evolution of mitochondria from the perspective recently provided by the extensive sequencing of various mitochondrial genomes. Mitochondrial-en-coded protein phylogenies are congruent with nuclear phylogenies and strongly support a monophyletic origin of mitochondria. The newly available data from red-algal mitochondrial genomes, in particular, show that the structural and functional diversity of mitochondrial genomes can be accounted for by paralogous evolution. We also discuss the influence of other constraints, such as uniparental inheritance, on the evolution of genome organization in mitochondria.

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