Article ID: 16-00039
Sequences homologous to organellar DNA that have been integrated into nuclear genomes are referred to as nuclear mitochondrial DNAs (NUMTs) and nuclear plastid DNAs (NUPTs). NUMTs in nine plant species were analyzed to reveal the integration patterns and possible factors involved. The cumulative lengths of NUMTs in two-thirds of species analyzed were greater than those of NUPTs observed in a previous study. The age distribution of NUMTs was similar to that of NUPTs, suggesting similar mechanisms for integration and degradation of both NUPTs and NUMTs. Nuclear genome size and the cumulative length of NUMTs showed a significant positive correlation for older but not younger NUMTs. The same correlation was also found between nuclear genome size and older NUPTs in 17 species. These results suggested that genome size is a key factor to determine the cumulative length of relatively older NUPTs/NUMTs. Although the factor(s) determining the cumulative length of younger NUPTs/NUMTs is unclear, these sequences may be more deleterious, which could explain the different manner of determining the cumulative length of younger NUPTs/NUMTs in nuclear genomes. In addition, a relationship between the cumulative length of integrated NUMTs and complexity of mitochondrial genomes (i.e., the number of repeats) was found. The results indicate that the structural complexity of both NUMTs and their original mitochondrial sequences affect integration and degradation processes.