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Fucikova, Karolina; Lewis, Paul O; Gonzalez-Halphen, Diego; Lewis, Louise A (2014)

GENE ARRANGEMENT CONVERGENCE, DIVERSE INTRON CONTENT, AND GENETIC CODE MODIFICATIONS IN MITOCHONDRIAL GENOMES OF SPHAEROPLEALES (CHLOROPHYTA)

Genome Biol Evol 6(8):2170-2180
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The majority of our knowledge about mitochondrial genomes of Viridiplantae comes from land plants, but much less is known about their green algal relatives. In the green algal order Sphaeropleales (Chlorophyta), only one representative mitochondrial genome is currently available-that of Acutodesmus obliquus. Our study adds nine completely sequenced and three partially sequenced mitochondrial genomes spanning the phylogenetic diversity of Sphaeropleales. We show not only a size range of 25-53 kb and variation in intron content (0-11) and gene order but also conservation of 13 core respiratory genes and fragmented ribosomal RNA genes. We also report an unusual case of gene arrangement convergence in Neochloris aquatica, where the two rns fragments were secondarily placed in close proximity. Finally, we report the unprecedented usage of UCG as stop codon in Pseudomuriella schumacherensis. In addition, phylogenetic analyses of the mitochondrial protein-coding genes yield a fully resolved, well-supported phylogeny, showing promise for addressing systematic challenges in green algae.