Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) of DNA from the plastid to the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes of higher plants is a common phenomenon; however, plastid genomes (plastomes) are highly conserved and have generally been regarded as impervious to HGT. We sequenced the 158 kb plastome and the 690 kb mitochondrial genome of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca [Apocynaceae]) and found evidence of intracellular HGT for a 2.4-kb segment of mitochondrial DNA to the rps2–rpoC2 intergenic spacer of the plastome. The transferred region contains an rpl2 pseudogene and is flanked by plastid sequence in the mitochondrial genome, including an rpoC2 pseudogene, which likely provided the mechanism for HGT back to the plastome through double-strand break repair involving homologous recombination. The plastome insertion is restricted to tribe Asclepiadeae of subfamily Asclepiadoideae, whereas the mitochondrial rpoC2 pseudogene is present throughout the subfamily, which confirms that the plastid to mitochondrial HGT event preceded the HGT to the plastome. Although the plastome insertion has been maintained in all lineages of Asclepiadoideae, it shows minimal evidence of transcription in A. syriaca and is likely nonfunctional. Furthermore, we found recentgene conversion of the mitochondrialrpoC2 pseudogene inAsclepias bythe plastid gene,which reflects continued interaction of these genomes.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Straub, Shannon C.K.; Cronn, Richard C.; Edwards, Christopher; Fishbein, Mark; Liston, Aaron. 2013. Horizontal transfer of DNA from the mitochondrial to the plastid genome and its subsequent evolution in milkweeds (Apocynaceae). Genome Biology and Evolution. 5(10): 1872-1885.


    Asclepias syriaca, gene conversion, horizontal gene transfer, mitochondrial genome, phylogeny, plastome.

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page