Codon usage in mitochondrial genome of the six different plants was analyzed to find general patterns of codon usage in plant mitochondrial genomes. The neutrality analysis indicated that the codon usage patterns of mitochondrial genes were more conserved in GC content and no correlation between GC12 and GC3. T and A ending codons were detected as the preferred codons in plant mitochondrial genomes. The Parity Rule 2 plot analysis showed that T was used more frequently than A. The ENC-plot showed that although a majority of the points with low ENC values were lying below the expected curve, a few genes lied on the expected curve. Correspondence analysis of relative synonymous codon usage yielded a first axis that explained only a partial amount of variation of codon usage. These findings suggest that natural selection is likely to be playing a large role in codon usage bias in plant mitochondrial genomes, but not only natural selection but also other several factors are likely to be involved in determining the selective constraints on codon bias in plant mitochondrial genomes. Meantime, 1 codon (P. patens), 6 codons (Z. mays), 9 codons (T. aestivum), 15 codons (A. thaliana), 15 codons (M. polymorpha) and 15 codons (N. tabacum) were defined as the preferred codons of the six plant mitochondrial genomes.
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This work was supported in part by the National High Tech Development Project of China, the 863 Program (Grant Nos. 2007AA02Z329) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 20060213024).
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