A complete mitochondrial genome of wheat (Triticum aestivum cv. Chinese Yumai), and fast evolving mitochondrial genes in higher plants

Peng Cui, Huitao Liu, Qiang Lin, Feng Ding, Guoyin Zhuo, Songnian Hu, Dongcheng Liu, Wenlong Yang, Kehui Zhan, Aimin Zhang*, Jun Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Plant mitochondrial genomes, encoding necessary proteins involved in the system of energy production, play an important role in the development and reproduction of the plant. They occupy a specific evolutionary pattern relative to their nuclear counterparts. Here, we determined the winter wheat (Triticum aestivum cv. Chinese Yumai) mitochondrial genome in a length of 452 and 526 bp by shotgun sequencing its BAC library. It contains 202 genes, including 35 known protein-coding genes, three rRNA and 17 tRNA genes, as well as 149 open reading frames (ORFs; greater than 300 bp in length). The sequence is almost identical to the previously reported sequence of the spring wheat (T. aestivum cv. Chinese Spring); we only identified seven SNPs (three transitions and four transversions) and 10 indels (insertions and deletions) between the two independently acquired sequences, and all variations were found in non-coding regions. This result confirmed the accuracy of the previously reported mitochondrial sequence of the Chinese Spring wheat. The nucleotide frequency and codon usage of wheat are common among the lineage of higher plant with a high AT-content of 58%. Molecular evolutionary analysis demonstrated that plant mitochondrial genomes evolved at different rates, which may correlate with substantial variations in metabolic rate and generation time among plant lineages. In addition, through the estimation of the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous substitution rates between orthologous mitochondrion-encoded genes of higher plants, we found an accelerated evolutionary rate that seems to be the result of relaxed selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-307
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Evolution
  • Mitochondrial genome
  • Relaxed selection
  • Wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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