Physical characterization of the mitochondrial genome derived from the obligate mosquito parasite, Romanomermis culicivorax has generated some surprising physical properties regarding the molecular structure of nematode mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Restriction enzyme analysis of this mtDNA has revealed a mitochondrial genome size of approximately 26 kb, the largest metazoan mtDNA reported to date. Isofemale lineages are monomorphic for one of three size variants, differing by 500-1,000 base pairs, present in our original field population. Cloned hybridization probes derived from a single region exhibiting a 600 by size polymorphism share strong homology with several spatially separated sites distributed about the mtDNA. This suggests that the homology is a result of repeated DNA sequence elements contained within this mitochondrial genome that contribute to mtDNA size polymorphism.
Mitochondrial DNAPopulation heterogeneityMolecular evolutionRecombinant DNA