A complete mitochondrial genome of wheat (Triticum aestivum cv. Chinese Yumai), and fast evolving mitochondrial genes in higher plants

J Genet. 2009 Dec;88(3):299-307. doi: 10.1007/s12041-009-0043-9.


Plant mitochondrial genomes, encoding necessary proteins involved in the system of energy production, play an important role in the development and reproduction of the plant. They occupy a specific evolutionary pattern relative to their nuclear counterparts. Here, we determined the winter wheat (Triticum aestivum cv. Chinese Yumai) mitochondrial genome in a length of 452 and 526 bp by shotgun sequencing its BAC library. It contains 202 genes, including 35 known protein-coding genes, three rRNA and 17 tRNA genes, as well as 149 open reading frames (ORFs; greater than 300 bp in length). The sequence is almost identical to the previously reported sequence of the spring wheat (T. aestivum cv. Chinese Spring); we only identified seven SNPs (three transitions and four transversions) and 10 indels (insertions and deletions) between the two independently acquired sequences, and all variations were found in non-coding regions. This result confirmed the accuracy of the previously reported mitochondrial sequence of the Chinese Spring wheat. The nucleotide frequency and codon usage of wheat are common among the lineage of higher plant with a high AT-content of 58%. Molecular evolutionary analysis demonstrated that plant mitochondrial genomes evolved at different rates, which may correlate with substantial variations in metabolic rate and generation time among plant lineages. In addition, through the estimation of the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous substitution rates between orthologous mitochondrion-encoded genes of higher plants, we found an accelerated evolutionary rate that seems to be the result of relaxed selection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Composition / genetics
  • Codon / genetics
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genes, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Genes, Plant / genetics*
  • Genome, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Genome, Plant / genetics*
  • Open Reading Frames / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Physical Chromosome Mapping
  • Triticum / genetics*


  • Codon
  • DNA, Mitochondrial