Mitochondrial genome size
Ribosomal RNA genes
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary We report the first estimates of genome size and complexity for mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNAs) from nonflowering land plants. The mtDNA of Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern) is approximately 300 kb in size, while that of Equisetum arvense (common horsetail) is at least 200 kb. Sufficient mtDNA of Onoclea was available to permit an estimation of the copy number and a linkage analysis of nine mitochondrial genes. Six of these genes appear to be present in only one or two copies in the Onoclea genome, whereas three other genes are present in multiple copies. Five of the approximately ten genes encoding 26S rRNA are located on a large, 〉10kb, dispersed repeat that also contains closely linked genes for 18S rRNA and the alpha subunit of ATPase (atpA). The other 26S genes belong to a second dispersed repeat family of 〉8 kb whose elements do not contain any other identified genes. Because flowering plant mtDNAs are also large and contain dispersed, gene-containing, repeats, it appears that these features arose early in the evolution of land plants, or perhaps even in their green algal ancestors.
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