Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 116–125 | Cite as

Drosophila mitochondrial DNA: Conserved sequences in the A+T-rich region and supporting evidence for a secondary structure model of the small ribosomal RNA

  • Douglas O. Clary
  • David R. Wolstenholme


The sequence of a segment of theDrosophila virilis mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) molecule that contains the A+T-rich region, the small rRNA gene, the tRNAf-met, tRNAgln, and tRNAile genes, and portions of the ND2 and tRNAval genes is presented and compared with the corresponding segment of theD. yakuba mtDNA molecule. The A+T-rich regions ofD. virilis andD. yakuba contain two correspondingly located sequences of 49 and 276/274 nucleotides that appear to have been conserved during evolution. In each species the replication origin of the mtDNA molecule is calculated to lie within a region that overlaps the larger conserved sequence, and within this overlap is found a potential hairpin structure. Substitutions between the larger conserved sequences of the A+T-rich regions, the small mt-rRNA genes, and the ND2 genes are biased in favor of transversions, 71–97% of which are A↮T changes. There is a 13.8 times higher frequency of nucleotide differences between the 5′ halves than between the 3′ halves of theD. virilis andD. yakuba small mt-rRNA genes. Considerations of the effects of observed substitutions and deletion/insertions on possible nucleotide pairing within the small mt-rRNA genes ofD. virilis andD. yakuba strongly support the secondary structure model for theDrosophila small mt-rRNA that we previously proposed.

Key words

Drosophila virilis Drosophila yakuba Mitochondrial DNA Mitochondrial genes Nucleotide sequences Small ribosomal RNA genes Transfer RNA genes A+T-rich regions 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas O. Clary
    • 1
  • David R. Wolstenholme
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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