Mitochondrial control region structure and single site heteroplasmy in the razorbill (Alca torda; Aves)
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The primary structure of the Alca torda mitochondrial control region was determined and conserved structural features were identified based on sequence comparisons to other bird species. In a population survey using control region analysis, five individuals were found to possess heteroplasmic point mutations at the variable 5′ end of the control region. The pattern of variable nucleotide positions among individuals was compared to the distribution of heteroplasmic sites and the heteroplasmic condition was further characterised by a cloning procedure applied to two individuals which harboured one and two heteroplasmic point mutations, respectively. These results are in support of recent evidence that single site heteroplasmy may be more common than previously thought.
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