• NUMT;
  • mitochondrial pseudogenes;
  • genome evolution;
  • lateral gene transfer;
  • Hymenoptera


Many organisms carry nuclear sequences of mitochondrial origin (NUMTs). We have identified 76 NUMTs in 25 genomic locations in the jewel wasp Nasonia vitripennis. The total amount of NUMTs in Nasonia is 42 972 bp exceeding over four-fold that found in Tribolium castaneum and almost fifty-fold that found in Drosophila melanogaster, whereas Apis mellifera has an even larger number of NUMTs in its genome (over 230 kb). The Nasonia NUMTs were inserted by multiple independent events and frequently involved large fragments spanning multiple mitochondrial genes. Most of the NUMTs are recent transfers that occurred less than one million years ago after the speciation of N. vitripennis. Duplications and rearrangements in the nucleus have also occurred. Data suggest that NUMTs may be more common in hymenoptera than in other insect genomes.