Mitochondrial DNA transmission genetics in crickets

Genetics. 1986 Nov;114(3):955-70. doi: 10.1093/genetics/114.3.955.


This paper presents the results of a single generation study of the transmission genetics of mitochondrial DNA in the field cricket Gryllus firmus. In this species, individuals heteroplasmic for at least two different-sized mitochondrial genomes can be collected easily from natural populations. The frequencies of mtDNA size variants in heteroplasmic females and samples of their offspring were estimated by densitometry of autoradiographs. The variance in mitochondrial genotype frequencies among the offspring of heteroplasmic females indicates that, through genetic drift, fixation would take several hundred animal generations. Differences between the observations and data on mtDNA transmission in yeast and cows are discussed in light of the differences in organelle sampling regime and early developmental events in these species. Our data also show shifts in genotype frequencies in the transmission from mother to offspring that suggest a bias in favor of smaller genomes. The nature of mtDNA size variation in natural populations of crickets is discussed in reference to a mutation-selection balance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Grasshoppers / genetics*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization


  • DNA, Mitochondrial