We analysed the size, relative age and chromosomal localization of nuclear sequences of plastid and mitochondrial origin (NUPTs-nuclear plastid DNA and NUMTs-nuclear mitochondrial DNA) in six completely sequenced plant species. We found that the largest insertions showed lower divergence from organelle DNA than shorter insertions in all species, indicating their recent origin. The largest NUPT and NUMT insertions were localized in the vicinity of the centromeres in the small genomes of Arabidopsis and rice. They were also present in other chromosomal regions in the large genomes of soybean and maize. Localization of NUPTs and NUMTs correlated positively with distribution of transposable elements (TEs) in Arabidopsis and sorghum, negatively in grapevine and soybean, and did not correlate in rice or maize. We propose a model where new plastid and mitochondrial DNA sequences are inserted close to centromeres and are later fragmented by TE insertions and reshuffled away from the centromere or removed by ectopic recombination. The mode and tempo of TE dynamism determines the turnover of NUPTs and NUMTs resulting in their species-specific chromosomal distributions.
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