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J Mol Evol. 1998 Jun;46(6):689-96.

The Peperomia mitochondrial coxI group I intron: timing of horizontal transfer and subsequent evolution of the intron.

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Department of Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA.


The Peperomia polybotrya coxI gene intron is the only currently reported group I intron in a vascular plant mitochondrial genome and it likely originated by horizontal transfer from a fungal donor. We provide a clearer picture of the horizontal transfer and a portrayal of the evolution of the group I intron since it was gained by the Peperomia mitochondrial genome. The intron was transferred recently in terms of plant evolution, being restricted to the single genus Peperomia among the order Piperales. Additional support is presented for the suggestion that a recombination/repair mechanism was used by the intron for integration into the Peperomia mitochondrial genome, as a perfect 1:1 correspondence exists between the intron's presence in a species and the presence of divergent nucleotide markers flanking the intron insertion site. Sequencing of coxI introns from additional Peperomia species revealed that several mutations have occurred in the intron since the horizontal transfer, but sequence alterations have not caused frameshifts or created stop codons in the intronic open reading frame. In addition, two coxI pseudogenes in Peperomia cubensis were discovered that lack a large region of coxI exon 2 and contain a truncated version of the group I intron that likely cannot be spliced out.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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