Comparative genomics of mitochondrial DNA in Drosophila simulans

J Mol Evol. 2000 Jul;51(1):64-75. doi: 10.1007/s002390010067.


The current study compares the nucleotide variation among 22 complete mitochondrial genomes of the three distinct Drosophila simulans haplotypes with intron 1 of the alcohol dehydrogenase-related locus. This is the first study to investigate the sequence variation of multiple complete mitochondrial genomes within distinct mitochondrial haplotypes of a single species. Patterns of variation suggest distinct forces are influencing the evolution of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and autosomal DNA in D. simulans. First, there is little variation within each mtDNA haplotype but strong differentiation among them. In contrast, there is no support for differentiation of the mitochondrial haplotypes at the autosomal locus. Second, there is a significant deficiency of mitochondrial variation in each haplotype relative to the autosomal locus. Third, the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions is not equal in all branches of the well-resolved phylogeny. There is an excess of nonsynonymous substitutions relative to synonymous substitutions within each D. simulans haplotype. This result is similar to that previously observed within the mtDNA of distinct species. A single evolutionary force may be causally linked to the observed patterns of mtDNA variation-a rickettsia-like microorganism, Wolbachia pipientis, which is known to directly influence mitochondrial evolution but have a less direct influence on autosomal loci.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Animals
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome
  • Haplotypes
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phylogeny*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase