One of the most widely used markers in population genetics, mitochondrial genetic diversity, does not accurately reflect the size and history of a population, according to a report in this week's Science. This suggests natural selection may be acting on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the authors note."This result opens questions -- what is mtDNA adapting to?" co-author Nicolas Galtier at the University of Montpellier in France told The Scientist.MtDNA is widely believed to be nearly evolutionary neutral. Therefore, mitochondrial genetic diversity should increase as a species' population size increases, and looking at mtDNA diversity should enable researchers to infer whether a species is advancing or declining.In the present study, the researchers assembled a database dedicated to sequence polymorphism by scanning GenBank and EMBL-Bank. To check its reliability, they compared the resulting information on the nuclear DNA of 417 species and the mtDNA of 1,683 species with allozyme data for...
natural selectionAdam Eyre-WalkerThe ScientistDavid FoltzThe ScientistDavid Randcchoi@the-scientist.comSciencehttp://www.sciencemag.orghttp://www.univ-montp2.fr/~genetix/labo.htmThe Scientisthttp://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/11959/The Scientisthttp://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/14663/http://www.nescent.org/people/sabbatical_fellows.htmlhttp://www.biology.lsu.edu/faculty_listings/fac_pages/dfoltz.htmlhttp://www.brown.edu/Departments/EEB/rand/index.htm
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