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, 87 (9-10), 327-342

Evolutionary Dynamics of Transferred Sequences Between Organellar Genomes in Cucurbita

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Evolutionary Dynamics of Transferred Sequences Between Organellar Genomes in Cucurbita

Xitlali Aguirre-Dugua et al. J Mol Evol.

Abstract

Twenty-nine DNA regions of plastid origin have been previously identified in the mitochondrial genome of Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin; Cucurbitaceae). Four of these regions harbor homolog sequences of rbcL, matK, rpl20-rps12 and trnL-trnF, which are widely used as molecular markers for phylogenetic and phylogeographic studies. We extracted the mitochondrial copies of these regions based on the mitochondrial genome of C. pepo and, along with published sequences for these plastome markers from 13 Cucurbita taxa, we performed phylogenetic molecular analyses to identify inter-organellar transfer events in the Cucurbita phylogeny and changes in their nucleotide substitution rates. Phylogenetic reconstruction and tree selection tests suggest that rpl20 and rbcL mitochondrial paralogs arose before Cucurbita diversification whereas the mitochondrial matK and trnL-trnF paralogs emerged most probably later, in the mesophytic Cucurbita clade. Nucleotide substitution rates increased one order of magnitude in all the mitochondrial paralogs compared to their original plastid sequences. Additionally, mitochondrial trnL-trnF sequences obtained by PCR from nine Cucurbita taxa revealed higher nucleotide diversity in the mitochondrial than in the plastid copies, likely related to the higher nucleotide substitution rates in the mitochondrial region and loss of functional constraints in its tRNA genes.

Keywords: Gene duplication; Inter-organellar DNA transfer; Molecular evolution; Nucleotide substitution rate; Paralogy; tRNA.

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