Progress in Botany Volume 60, 1999, pp 39-87

Recombination:Organelle DNA of Plants and Fungi: Inheritance and Recombination

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Most of the genetic information in eukaryotic cells is stored by chromosomal DNA in the nucleus. Yet a much smaller but nevertheless essential part of the genetic information is kept by some extrachromosomal DNA molecules situated in organelles present in the cytoplasm of the cell. Two main groups of DNA containing organelles are distinguished: Mitochondria are an almost universal feature of the eukaryotic cells while chloroplasts are found in algae and plant cells capable of photosynthesis but not in the nonphototropic fungal and animal cells. Organelle DNA is able to undergo intra- and intergenomic recombination. Here we review the present knowledge on inheritance and recombination of organelle DNA in plants and fungi as well as transmission and recombination of organelle-associated plasmids.