Heteroplasmic tandem repeats in the mitochondrial control region have been documented in a wide variety of vertebrate species. We have examined the control region from 11 species in the family Crocodylidae and identified two different types of heteroplasmic repetitive sequences in the conserved sequence block (CSB) domain - an extensive poly-A tract that appears to be involved in the formation of secondary structure and a series of tandem repeats located downstream ranging from approximately 50 to approximately 80 bp in length. We describe this portion of the crocodylian control region in detail and focus on members of the family Crocodylidae. We then address the origins of the tandemly repeated sequences in this family and suggest hypotheses to explain possible mechanisms of expansion/contraction of the sequences. We have also examined control region sequences from Alligator and Caiman and offer hypotheses for the origin of tandem repeats found in those taxa. Finally, we present a brief analysis of intraindividual and interindividual haplotype variation by examining representatives of Morelet's crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii).
- Mitochondrial control region