Length variation and heteroplasmy are frequent in mitochondrial DNA from parthenogenetic and bisexual lizards (genus Cnemidophorus).

L. D. Densmore, J. W. Wright, W. M. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Samples of mtDNA isolated from each of 92 lizards representing all color pattern classes of Cnemidophorus tesselatus and two populations of C. tigris marmoratus were digested with the restriction endonucleases MboI, TaqI, RsaI and MspI. The mtDNA fragment sizes were compared after radioactive labeling and gel electrophoresis. Three features were notable in the comparisons: there was little variation due to gain or loss of cleavage sites, two fragments varied noticeably in length among the samples, one by a variable amount up to a maximum difference of approximately 370 base pairs (bp) and the other by a discrete amount of 35 bp, these two fragments occasionally varied within, as well as between, samples. Two regions that corresponded in size to these variants were identified by restriction endonuclease cleavage mapping. One of these is adjacent to the D-loop. Heteroplasmy, heretofore rarely observed, occurred frequently in these same two regions. Variability in the copy number of a tandemly repeated 64-bp sequence appears to be one component of the variation, but others (e.g., base substitutions or small additions/deletions) must also be involved. The frequent occurrence of these length variations suggests either that they can be generated rapidly or that they were inherited from a highly polymorphic ancestor. The former interpretation is favored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-707
Number of pages19
JournalGenetics
Volume110
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1985

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