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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2013-09-20
    Description: Mitochondria are intracellular organelles where oxidative phosphorylation is carried out to complete ATP synthesis. Mitochondria have their own genome; in metazoans, this is a small, circular molecule encoding 13 electron transport proteins, 22 tRNAs, and 2 rRNAs. In invertebrates, mitochondrial gene rearrangement is common, and it is correlated with increased substitution rates. In vertebrates, mitochondrial gene rearrangement is rare, and its relationship to substitution rate remains unexplored. Mitochondrial genes can also show spatial variation in substitution rates around the genome due to the mechanism of mtDNA replication, which produces a mutation gradient. To date, however, the strength of the mutation gradient and whether movement along the gradient in rearranged (or otherwise modified) genomes impacts genic substitution rates remain unexplored in the majority of vertebrates. Salamanders include both normal mitochondrial genomes and independently derived rearrangements and expansions, providing a rare opportunity to test the effects of large-scale changes to genome architecture on vertebrate mitochondrial gene sequence evolution. We show that: 1) rearranged/expanded genomes have higher substitution rates; 2) most genes in rearranged/expanded genomes maintain their position along the mutation gradient, substitution rates of the genes that do move are unaffected by their new position, and the gradient in salamanders is weak; and 3) genomic rearrangements/expansions occur independent of levels of selective constraint on genes. Together, our results demonstrate that large-scale changes to genome architecture impact mitochondrial gene evolution in predictable ways; however, despite these impacts, the same functional constraints act on mitochondrial protein-coding genes in both modified and normal genomes.
    Electronic ISSN: 1759-6653
    Topics: Biology
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