Gene Transfer to the Nucleus

Mathieu Rousseau-Gueutin, Andrew H. Lloyd, Anna E. Sheppard, Jeremy N. Timmis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (SciVal)


The endosymbiotic evolution of mitochondrial and plastid genomes from ancestral prokaryotes is outlined stressing the net passage of genes from the organelle precursor genomes to the nucleus. We highlight recent experimental analyses of the process of nucleic acid transfer between extant organelle genomes and the nucleus. The molecular events that have accompanied functional gene transfers are described and specific cases of the relocation and nuclear expression of former organellar genes are summarised. The mechanisms underpinning gene transfer, including the movement of extant cytoplasmic organellar nucleic acids are described together with emphasis on the genetic consequences for the nuclear size and genetic complexity. We discuss the major contribution of endosymbiosis to the evolution of eukaryotes and we mention the selective forces that may be responsible for making the nucleus the preferred location for eukaryotic genes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrganelle Genetics
Subtitle of host publicationEvolution of Organelle Genomes and Gene Expression
EditorsCharles E. Bullerwell
Place of PublicationBerlin, Heidelberg
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-642-22380-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-22379-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • mitochondrial genome
  • chloroplast genome
  • nuclear genome
  • plastid genome
  • cytoplasmic organelle


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