Recombination of mitochondrial DNA without selection pressure among compatible strains of the Aspergillus niger species aggregate

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Previous mitochondrial transmission experiments between oligomycin-resistant and oligomycin-sensitive incompatible strains of the A. niger aggregate bearing various mtDNA RFLP profiles resulted in a great variety of mitochondrial recombinants under selection pressure. Apart from the recombinant mtDNAs, resistant clones harbouring unchanged RFLP profiles of resistant donor mtDNAs with the recipient nuclear backgrounds were rarely isolated. These strains were anastomosed with nuclearly isogenic oligomycin-sensitive recipient partners and the mitochondria of the resulting progeny were examined under non-selective conditions. These experiments provide insights into events which are possibly similar to those occurring in nature. The heterokaryons obtained formed both oligomycin-resistant and -sensitive sectors, most of which were found to be homoplasmons. Progenies harbouring oligomycin-resistant and -sensitive mtDNAs may originate either from individual recombination events or be due to parental segregation. MtDNA recombination might take place in the heterokaryons without selection by oligomycin. The most frequent recombinant types of mtDNA RFLP profiles were indistinguishable from those recombinant mtDNAs which were frequently obtained under selection pressure from directed transfer experiments between incompatible strains. We present evidence that mixed mitochondrial populations may influence the compatibility reactions in the presence of an isogenic nuclear background, that recombination may take place without selection pressure, and that the process does not require specific nuclear sequences of both parental strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-205
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Genetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 1998


  • Aspergillus heterokaryons
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Recombination without selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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