Evolution of organellar genomes

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1999 Dec;9(6):678-87. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(99)00030-1.


Accumulating molecular data, particularly complete organellar genome sequences, continue to advance our understanding of the evolution of mitochondrial and chloroplast DNAs. Although the notion of a single primary origin for each organelle has been reinforced, new models have been proposed that tie the acquisition of mitochondria more closely to the origin of the eukaryotic cell per se than is implied by classic endosymbiont theory. The form and content of the ancestral proto-mitochondrial and proto-chloroplast genomes are becoming clearer but unusual patterns of organellar genome structure and organization continue to be discovered. The 'single-gene circle' arrangement recently reported for dinoflagellate chloroplast genomes is a notable example of a highly derived organellar genome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chloroplasts / genetics
  • DNA, Chloroplast / genetics*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genes, Plant / genetics
  • Genome*
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Models, Genetic
  • Organelles / genetics*
  • Phylogeny


  • DNA, Chloroplast
  • DNA, Mitochondrial