Mitochondrial DNA polymorphism in a maternal lineage of Holstein cows

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1982 Aug;79(15):4686-90. doi: 10.1073/pnas.79.15.4686.


Two mitochondrial genotypes are shown to exist within one Holstein cow maternal lineage. They were detected by the appearance of an extra Hae III recognition site in one genotype. The nucleotide sequence of this region has been determined and the genotypes are distinguished by an adenine/guanine base transition which creates the new Hae III site. This point mutation occurs within an open reading frame at the third position of a glycine codon and therefore does not alter the amino acid sequence. The present pattern of genotypes within the lineage demands that multiple shifts between genotypes must have occurred within the past 20 years with the most rapid shift taking place in no more than 4 years and indicates that mitochondrial DNA polymorphism can occur between maternally related mammals. The process that gave rise to different genotypes in one lineage is clearly of fundamental importance in understanding intraspecific mitochondrial polymorphism and evolution in mammals. Several potential mechanisms for rapid mitochondrial DNA variation are discussed in light of these results.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cattle / genetics*
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Time Factors


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes

Associated data

  • GENBANK/J01394