Tandem repeats in plant mitochondrial genomes: application to the analysis of population differentiation in the conifer Norway spruce

Authors

  • C. Sperisen,

    1. Abteilung Biodiversität, Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, CH–8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland,
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  • U. Büchler,

    1. Abteilung Biodiversität, Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, CH–8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland,
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  • F. Gugerli,

    1. Abteilung Biodiversität, Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, CH–8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland,
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  • G. Mátyás,

    1. Abteilung Biodiversität, Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, CH–8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland,
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    • Present address: Kinderspital Zürich, Universität Zürich, Abteilung Stoffwechsel und Molekulare Pädiatrie, Steinwiesstrasse 75, CH–8032 Zürich, Switzerland.

  • T. Geburek,

    1. Institut für Forstgenetik, Forstliche Bundesversuchsanstalt, Hauptstrasse 7, A–1140 Wien, Austria,
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  • G. G. Vendramin

    1. Istituto Miglioramento Genetico Piante Forestali, Via Atto Vannucci 13, I–50134 Firenze, Italy
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C. Sperisen. Fax: +41 1 739 22 15; E-mail:sperisen@wsl.ch

Abstract

Mitochondrial DNA, widely applied in studies of population differentiation in animals, is rarely used in plants because of its slow rate of sequence evolution and its complex genomic organization. We demonstrate the utility of two polymorphic mitochondrial tandem repeats located in the second intron of the nad1 gene of Norway spruce. Most of the size variants showed pronounced population differentiation and a distinct geographical distribution. A GenBank search revealed that mitochondrial tandem repeats occur in a broad range of plant species and may serve as a novel molecular marker for unravelling population processes in plants.

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