Chloroplast genome arrangement
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary We have constructed the first physical map of a gymnosperm chloroplast genome and compared its organization with those of a fern and several angiosperms by heterologous filter hybridization. The chloroplast genome of the gymnosperm Ginkgo biloba consists of a 158 kb circular chromosome that contains a ribosomal RNA-encoding inverted repeat approximately 17 kb in size. Gene mapping experiments demonstrate a remarkable similarity in the linear order and absolute positions of the ribosomal RNA genes and of 17 protein genes in the cpDNAs of Ginkgo biloba, the fern Osmunda cinnamomea and the angiosperm Spinacia oleracea. Moreover, filter hybridizations using as probes cloned fragments that cover the entirety of the angiosperm chloroplast genome reveal a virtually colinear arrangement of homologous sequence elements in these genomes representing three divisions of vascular plants that diverged some 200–400 million years ago. The only major difference in chloroplast genome structure among these vascular plants involves the size of the rRNA-encoding inverted repeat, which is only 10 kb in Osmunda, 17 kb in Ginkgo, and about 25 kb in most angiosperms. This size variation appears to be the result of spreading of the repeat through previously single copy sequences, or the reverse process of shrinkage, unaccompanied by any overall change in genome complexity.
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