Analysis of phylogenetically reconstructed mutational spectra in human mitochondrial DNA control region

Hum Genet. 2002 Jul;111(1):46-53. doi: 10.1007/s00439-002-0740-4. Epub 2002 Jun 7.


Analysis of mutations in mitochondrial DNA is an important issue in population and evolutionary genetics. To study spontaneous base substitutions in human mitochondrial DNA we reconstructed the mutational spectra of the hypervariable segments I and II (HVS I and II) using published data on polymorphisms from various human populations. An excess of pyrimidine transitions was found both in HVS I and II regions. By means of classification analysis numerous mutational hotspots were revealed in these spectra. Context analysis of hotspots revealed a complex influence of neighboring bases on mutagenesis in the HVS I region. Further statistical analysis suggested that a transient misalignment dislocation mutagenesis operating in monotonous runs of nucleotides play an important role for generating base substitutions in mitochondrial DNA and define context properties of mtDNA. Our results suggest that dislocation mutagenesis in HVS I and II is a fingerprint of errors produced by DNA polymerase gamma in the course of human mitochondrial DNA replication

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Complementarity Determining Regions / genetics*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis
  • Mutation*
  • Phylogeny
  • Pyrimidines / chemistry
  • Pyrimidines / metabolism
  • Recombination, Genetic


  • Complementarity Determining Regions
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Pyrimidines