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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Joanna Elson,
Emeritus Professor Doug Turnbull
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This article provides evidence that selection has been a significant force during the evolution of the human mitochondrial genome. Both gene-by-gene and whole-genome approaches were used here to assess selection in the 560 mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) coding-region sequences that were used previously for reduced-median-network analysis. The results of the present analyses were complex, in that the action of selection was not indicated by all tests, but this is not surprising, in view of the characteristics and limitations of the different analytical methods. Despite these limitations, there is evidence for both gene-specific and lineage-specific variation in selection. Whole-genome sliding-window approaches indicated a lack of selection in large-scale segments of the coding region. In other tests, we analyzed the ratio of nonsynonymous-to-synonymous substitutions in the 13 protein-encoding mtDNA genes. The most straightforward interpretation of those results is that negative selection has acted on the mtDNA during evolution. Single-gene analyses indicated significant departures from neutrality in the C01, ND4, and ND6 genes, although the data also suggested the possible operation of positive selection on the AT6 gene. Finally, our results and those of other investigators do not support a simple model in which climatic adaptation has been a major force during human mtDNA evolution.
Author(s): Elson JL, Turnbull DM, Howell N
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: American Journal of Human Genetics
Print publication date: 01/02/2004
ISSN (print): 0002-9297
ISSN (electronic): 1537-6605
Publisher: Cell Press
PubMed id: 14712420
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