Complete chloroplast genome sequences from Korean ginseng (Panax schinseng Nees) and comparative analysis of sequence evolution among 17 vascular plants

Ki-Joong Kim, Hae-Lim Lee
DNA Research: An International Journal for Rapid Publication of Reports on Genes and Genomes 2004 August 31, 11 (4): 247-61
The nucleotide sequence of Korean ginseng (Panax schinseng Nees) chloroplast genome has been completed (AY582139). The circular double-stranded DNA, which consists of 156,318 bp, contains a pair of inverted repeat regions (IRa and IRb) with 26,071 bp each, which are separated by small and large single copy regions of 86,106 bp and 18,070 bp, respectively. The inverted repeat region is further extended into a large single copy region which includes the 5' parts of the rpsl9 gene. Four short inversions associated with short palindromic sequences that form stem-loop structures were also observed in the chloroplast genome of P. schinseng compared to that of Nicotiana tabacum. The genome content and the relative positions of 114 genes (75 peptide-encoding genes, 30 tRNA genes, 4 rRNA genes, and 5 conserved open reading frames [ycfs]), however, are identical with the chloroplast DNA of N. tabacum. Sixteen genes contain one intron while two genes have two introns. Of these introns, only one (trnL-UAA) belongs to the self-splicing group I; all remaining introns have the characteristics of six domains belonging to group II. Eighteen simple sequence repeats have been identified from the chloroplast genome of Korean ginseng. Several of these SSR loci show infra-specific variations. A detailed comparison of 17 known completed chloroplast genomes from the vascular plants allowed the identification of evolutionary modes of coding segments and intron sequences, as well as the evaluation of the phylogenetic utilities of chloroplast genes. Furthermore, through the detailed comparisons of several chloroplast genomes, evolutionary hotspots predominated by the inversion end points, indel mutation events, and high frequencies of base substitutions were identified. Large-sized indels were often associated with direct repeats at the end of the sequences facilitating intra-molecular recombination.

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