Nat Rev Genet. 2002 Jun;3(6):475-81.


The curious history of yeast mitochondrial DNA.

Williamson D.

Parasitology Division, National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK. dwillia@nimr.mrc.ac.uk

Forty years ago, soon after yeast mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was recognized, some animal versions of mtDNA were shown to comprise circular molecules. Supporting an idea that mitochondria had evolved from bacteria, this finding generated a dogmatic belief that yeast mtDNA was also circular, and the endless linear molecules actually observed in yeast were regarded as broken circles. This concept persisted for 30 years and has distorted our understanding of the true nature of the molecule.