Exceptionally high density of NUMTs in the honeybee genome

Mol Biol Evol. 2007 Jun;24(6):1340-6. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msm055. Epub 2007 Mar 22.


The available genome sequences of 4 insects (the fruit fly, the African malaria mosquito, the flour beetle, and the honeybee) are used to compare the amount of mitochondrial DNA transferred to the nuclear genome (NUMTs). The data from the beetle and the bee show frequent transfer of NUMTs, whereas NUMTs in the 2 other insects are rare. The density of NUMTs in the honeybee (>1.0 bp transferred DNA per 1 kb of the nuclear sequence) is the highest in any animal studied, about ten times higher than in humans and comparable to the densities in plant genomes. The density of NUMTs in the beetle (0.056 bp/kb) is of the same order of magnitude as that in humans. The analysis of the honeybee genome indicates that NUMTs originate from all parts of the mitochondrial genome, that about two-thirds of the nuclear copies result from secondary transpositions within the nuclear genome, that the copies are significantly associated to "mariner" type transposons, and that the NUMTs consist mainly of short and fragmented copies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles / genetics
  • Bees / genetics*
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Genome, Insect*
  • Tribolium / genetics


  • DNA, Mitochondrial

Associated data

  • RefSeq/NC_001566
  • RefSeq/NC_003081