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Numt, nuclear mitochondrial DNA



Numt (pronounced “new might”) is an abbreviated term for “nuclear mitochondrial   DNA”, which describes any transfer or “transposition” of cytoplasmic mitochondrial DNA sequences into the separate nuclear genome of a eukaryotic organism. As whole genome sequencing projects accumulate, more and more Numts have been detected in many diverse eukaryotic organisms (see   for one list of examples).


The first use of the term was made to describe a transposition of approximately 7.9 kilobase pairs of the cytoplasmic mtDNA genome into the nucleus of the domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus  ) [1], where Numt is tandemly repeated, 38-76 times at a single genomic locus on cat chromosome D2. Many Numts are transcriptionally inactive similar to some satellite (or junk  ) DNA, though they may be considered as part of the Serial Endosymbiosis Theory (SET) or endosymbiotic theory   for the origin of eukaryotic cells and organelles.




  1. Numt, a recent transfer and tandem amplification of mitochondrial DNA to the nuclear genome of the domestic cat. Lopez, J.V., Yuhki, N., Masuda, R., Modi, W., O'Brien, S.J. J. Mol. Evol. (1994) [Pubmed]
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