Horizontal transfer of entire genomes via mitochondrial fusion in the angiosperm Amborella

Danny W. Rice, Andrew J. Alverson, Aaron O. Richardson, Gregory J. Young, M. Virginia Sanchez-Puerta, Jérôme Munzinger, Kerrie Barry, Jeffrey L. Boore, Yan Zhang, Claude W. DePamphilis, Eric B. Knox, Jeffrey D. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

270 Scopus citations


We report the complete mitochondrial genome sequence of the flowering plant Amborella trichopoda. This enormous, 3.9-megabase genome contains six genome equivalents of foreign mitochondrial DNA, acquired from green algae, mosses, and other angiosperms. Many of these horizontal transfers were large, including acquisition of entire mitochondrial genomes from three green algae and one moss. We propose a fusion-compatibility model to explain these findings, with Amborella capturing whole mitochondria from diverse eukaryotes, followed by mitochondrial fusion (limited mechanistically to green plant mitochondria) and then genome recombination. Amborella's epiphyte load, propensity to produce suckers from wounds, and low rate of mitochondrial DNA loss probably all contribute to the high level of foreign DNA in its mitochondrial genome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1468-1473
Number of pages6
Issue number6165
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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