Persistence of separate mitochondrial genome

Andrew Gyles acgyles at
Tue Sep 12 18:19:37 EST 2000

At a conference in Italy in 1994 Saccone et al said, 'The fundamental
question..."why mtDNA and a separated organellar genetic system should
have persisted throughout evolution?" is still waiting for a convincing

Has any progress been made in answering this question since then? The
authors also said, 'Another intriguing question is why evolutionary
process(es) led to the extant scenario: a genome with a reduced, but
often similar information content in almost all organisms in spite of a
great variation in size'.

To be more specific, I would ask why have the genes coding for
respiratory enzymes remained in the mitochondrion in most cases instead
of going to the nucleus?

1. Progress in Cell Research, vol. 5, 131-135, (1995), Proceedings of
the 23rd Bari Meeting on Bioenergetics.

Andrew Gyles

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