In contemplating how the mitochondrial genome originated and what has happened to it since, one is immediately confronted with the extraordinary variation in size, structure, organization, and mode of expression of mitoÂ chondrial DNA (mtDNA) in different eukaryotes (Gray 1982, 1988; Gray & Doolittle 1982; Wallace 1982; Sederoff 1984). This diversity has made it very difficult to discern the pathway(s) of mitochondrial genome evolution. Only within groups of relatively closely related organisms have comÂ parative studies (and in particular sequence analysis) begun to reveal the mode and tempo of mtDNA evolution, permitting reasoned speculation about the mechanisms by which mtDNA divergence has occurred. Underlying the present review are many questions: What is the evoluÂ tionary origin of the mitochondrial genome? What was its ancestral form? 25 0743-4634/89/1115-0025$02.00 GRAY What has happened to it since its appearance in the eukaryotic cell? By what mechanism(s) has mtDNA evolved in different eukaryotes? Did the range of mitochondrial genomes in contemporary eukaryotes originate in a single event, or have they had several, independent origins (i.e. is mtDNA monophyletic or polyphyletic)? Is it possible to decide between these two alternatives, and if so, how? Although much progress has been made in defining the
Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology – Annual Reviews
Published: Nov 1, 1989
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