Mosaic Origins of a Complex Chimeric Mitochondrial Gene in Silene vulgaris

Helena Storchova, Karel Muller, Steffen Lau, Matthew Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chimeric genes are significant sources of evolutionary innovation that are normally created when portions of two or more protein coding regions fuse to form a new open reading frame. In plant mitochondria astonishingly high numbers of different novel chimeric genes have been reported, where they are generated through processes of rearrangement and recombination. Nonetheless, because most studies do not find or report nucleotide variation within the same chimeric gene, evolution after the origination of these chimeric genes remains unstudied. Here we identify two alleles of a complex chimera in Silene vulgaris that are divergent in nucleotide sequence, genomic position relative to other mitochondrial genes, and expression patterns. Structural patterns suggest a history partially influenced by gene conversion between the chimeric gene and functional copies of subunit 1 of the mitochondrial ATP synthase gene (atp1). We identified small repeat structures within the chimeras that are likel
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e30401
JournalPLoS ONE
StatePublished - Feb 2012


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