Cytochrome b pseudogene originated from a highly divergent mitochondrial lineage in genus Rupicapra

J Hered. May-Jun 2007;98(3):243-9. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esm013. Epub 2007 Apr 8.


We have identified a nuclear pseudogene (numt) of cytochrome b (cytb) in chamois. The comparison of a fragment of 402 nucleotides of cytb and the pseudogene between the 2 species Rupicapra rupicapra and Rupicapra pyrenaica allowed direct measurement of relative rates and patterns of evolution. Mitochondrial genes evolved 7 to 12 times faster than their nuclear counterparts. Substitutions in the nucleus include a frameshift and a stop codon. Phylogenetic analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial lineages on Rupicapra and related species showed that the nuclear branch evolved as a functional mitochondrial gene until the split of the 2 species of chamois and as a typical pseudogene later on. We propose that the pseudogene originated from a highly divergent mitochondrial lineage that did not persist in the mitochondrion and transposed to the nucleus in a time close to speciation. The concurrence of highly differentiated lineages at speciation points to hybridization between highly divergent populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cytochromes b / genetics*
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Pseudogenes*
  • Rupicapra / classification
  • Rupicapra / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Cytochromes b