Small ribosomal subunit RNA sequences, evolutionary relationships among different life forms, and mitochondrial origins.

A tree was constructed from a structurally conserved area in an alignment of 83 small ribosomal subunit sequences of eukaryotic, archaebacterial, eubacterial, plastidial, and mitochondrial origin. The algorithm involved computation and optimization of a dissimilarity matrix. According to the tree, only plant mitochondria belong to the eubacterial primary kingdom, whereas animal, fungal, algal, and ciliate mitochondria branch off from an internal node situated between the tree primary kingdoms. This result is at variance with a parsimony tree of similar size published by Cedergren et al. (J Mol Evol 28:98-112, 1988), which postulates the mitochondria to be monophyletic and to belong to the eubacterial primary kingdom. The discrepancy does not follow from the use of conflicting sequence alignments, hence it must be due to the use of different treeing algorithms. We tested our algorithm on a set of sequences resulting from a simulated evolution and found it capable of faithfully reconstructing a branching topology that involved very unequal evolutionary rates. The use of more limited or more extended areas of the complete sequence alignment, comprising only very conserved or also more variable portions of the small ribosomal subunit structure, does have some influence on the tree topology. In all cases, however, the nonplant mitochondria seem to branch off before the emergence of eubacteria, and the differences are limited to the branching pattern among different types of mitochondria.

Van de Peer, Y., Neefs, J.-M., De Wachter, R. (1990) Small ribosomal subunit RNA sequences, evolutionary relationships among different life forms, and mitochondrial origins. J. Mol. Evol. 30(5):463-76.









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