The data on the structure and functions of the mitochondrial genomes of protists (Protozoa and unicellular red and green algae) are reviewed. It is emphasized that mitochondrial gene structure and composition, as well as organization of mitochondrial genomes in protists are more diverse than in multicellular eukaryotes. The gene content of mitochondrial genomes of protists are closer to those of plants than animals or fungi. In the protist mitochondrial DNA, both the universal (as in higher plants) and modified (as in animals and fungi) genetic codes are used. In the overwhelming majority of cases, protist mitochondrial genomes code for the major and minor rRNA components, some tRNAs, and about 30 proteins of the respiratory chain and ribosomes. Based on comparison of the mitochondrial genomes of various protists, the origin and evolution of mitochondria are briefly discussed.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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