Sequence and organization of the human mitochondrial genome

Nature. 1981 Apr 9;290(5806):457-65. doi: 10.1038/290457a0.


The complete sequence of the 16,569-base pair human mitochondrial genome is presented. The genes for the 12S and 16S rRNAs, 22 tRNAs, cytochrome c oxidase subunits I, II and III, ATPase subunit 6, cytochrome b and eight other predicted protein coding genes have been located. The sequence shows extreme economy in that the genes have none or only a few noncoding bases between them, and in many cases the termination codons are not coded in the DNA but are created post-transcriptionally by polyadenylation of the mRNAs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • Codon
  • DNA Replication
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Genes
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acid Precursors / metabolism
  • Peptide Chain Initiation, Translational
  • Peptide Chain Termination, Translational
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • RNA, Transfer / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Codon
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Nucleic Acid Precursors
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Transfer

Associated data

  • GENBANK/J01415
  • GENBANK/M12548