, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 307-315

The plastid chromosome of spinach (Spinacia oleracea): complete nucleotide sequence and gene organization

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The chloroplast chromosome of spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a double-stranded circular DNA molecule of 150 725 nucleotide pairs. A comparison of this chromosome with those of the three other autotrophic dicotyledons for which complete DNA sequences of plastid chromosomes are available confirms a conserved overall structure. Three classes of open reading frames were distinguished: (1) genes of known function which include 108 unique loci, (2) three hypothetical chloroplast reading frames (ycfs) that are highly conserved interspecifically, and (3) species-specific or rapidly diverging 'open reading frames'. A detailed transcript study of one of the latter (ycf15) shows that these loci may be transcribed, but do not constitute protein-coding genes.