, Volume 1, Issue 5, pp 411-415

Sequence Characterization of a Unique Intergenic Spacer in Gadiformes Mitochondrial DNA

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The nucleotide sequences of intergenic spacers located between the tRNAThr and tRNAPro genes in mitochondrial DNA of cod fishes (order Godiformes) were determined. Spacers from eight species representing two families of cod fishes were analyzed and found to vary in size from 25 to 99 bp. Each spacer sequence contains one or two copies of a conserved 17-bp motif. Four to five central nucleotides of this motif constitute a substitutional hot spot as observed from interspecific and intraspecific comparisons. The substitution rate of the spacer is approximately twice that of the variable part I of the mitochondrial DNA control region, making this sequence region interesting as a molecular marker in population studies or stock assessments of cod fishes. We propose that the spacer originated in a duplication event and evolved into a functional domain, perhaps by binding regulatory proteins.