We investigate the possibility that differences between synonymous substitution rates of organelle and bacterial genes differing only in copy number may be due to conversion bias. We find that the rather large observed difference in the synonymous rates between genes in the single copy and inverted-repeat regions of chloroplasts can be accounted for by a very small bias against new mutants. More generally, differences in the within-organelle fixation probability result in different apparent mutation rates as measured by the expected rate of appearance of cells homoplasmic for new mutants. Thus, differences in intracellular population parameters rather than molecular mechanisms can account for some variation in the apparent mutation rates of organelle genes, and possibly in other systems with variable numbers of gene copies. On the other hand, our analysis suggests that conversion bias is not a likely explanation for relatively low mutation rates observed near the replication origin of bacterial chromosomes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1992|
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