Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Mitochondrial Genome

Usually circular but occasionally linear genome of mitochondria consisting of mitochondrial DNA. In mammals, the mtDNA ring contains some 16,569 bp and codes for 13 plasmagenic proteins, 22 tRNAs and two rRNAs. All mitochondrial genomes employ UGA as a tryptophan codon rather than as a stop codon. mtDNA evolves rapidly and is useful for tracking short term evolutionary events. mtDNA contains little noncoding information between genes, and no introns. There is only one significant noncoding sequence, the D-loop.

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