Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 351–364

Gene rearrangements in Chlamydomonas chloroplast DNAs are accounted for by inversions and by the expansion/contraction of the inverted repeat

  • Eric Boudreau
  • Monique Turmel
Research Article


To gain insight into the mutational events responsible for the extensive variation of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) within the green algal genus Chlamydomonas, we have investigated the chloroplast gene organization of Chlamydomonas pitschmannii, a close relative of the interfertile species C. eugametos and C. moewusii whose cpDNAs have been well characterized. At 187 kb, the circular cpDNA of C. pitschmannii is the smallest Chlamydomonas cpDNA yet reported; it is 56 and 105 kb smaller than those of its C. eugametos and C. moewusii counterparts, respectively. Despite this substantial size difference, the arrangement of 77 genes on the C. pitschmannii cpDNA displays only three noticeable differences from the organization of the corresponding genes on the collinear C. eugametos and C. moewusii cpDNAs. These changes in gene order are accounted for by the expansion/contraction of the inverted repeat and one or two inversions in a single-copy region. In land plant cpDNAs, these kinds of events are also responsible for gene rearrangements. The large size difference between the C. pitschmannii and C. eugametos/C. moewusii cpDNAs is mainly attributed to multiple events of deletions/additions as opposed to the usually observed expansion/contraction of the inverted repeat in land plant cpDNAs. We also found that the mitochondrial genome of C. pitschmannii is a circular DNA molecule of 16.5 kb which is 5.5 and 7.5 kb smaller than its C. moewusii and C. eugametos counterparts, respectively.

Key words

Chlamydomonas chloroplast DNA gene inversion genome evolution green algae mitochondrial DNA 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Boudreau
    • 1
  • Monique Turmel
    • 1
  1. 1.Département de Biochimie, Faculté des Sciences et de GénieUniversité LavalQuébecCanada

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