Mitochondrial pseudogenes in the nuclear genomes of Drosophila

Hubert H. Rogers, Sam Griffiths-Jones

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    Mitochondrial pseudogenes in nuclear chromosomes (numts) have been detected in the genomes of a diverse range of eukaryotic species. However, the numt content of different genomes and their properties is not uniform, and study of these differences provides insight into the mechanisms and dynamics of genome evolution in different organisms. In the genus Drosophila, numts have previously only been identified on a genome-wide scale in the melanogaster subgroup. The present study extends the identification to 11 species of the Drosophila genus. We identify a total of 302 numts and show that the numt complement is highly variable in Drosophilids, ranging from just 4 in D. melanogaster to 67 in D. willistoni, broadly correlating with genome size. Many numts have undergone large-scale rearrangements in the nucleus, including interruptions, inversions, deletions and duplications of sequence of variable size. Estimating the age of the numts in the nucleus by phylogenetic tree reconstruction reveals the vast majority of numts to be recent gains, 90% having arisen on terminal branches of the species tree. By identifying paralogs and counting duplications among the extant numts we estimate that 23% of extant numts arose through post-insertion duplications. We estimate genus average rates of insertion of 0.75 per million years, and a duplication rate of 0.010 duplications per numt per million years. © 2012 Rogers, Griffiths-Jones.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere32593
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2012


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