Heterogeneous periodicity of drosophila mtDNA: new refutations of neutral and nearly neutral evolution
We found a consistent 3-site periodicity of the X²9 values for the heterogeneity of the distribution of the second base in relation to the first base of dinucleotides separated by 0 (contiguous), 1, 2, 3 ... 17 (K) nucleotide sites in Drosophila mtDNA. Triplets of X²9 values were found where the first was over 300 and the second and third ranged between 37 and 114 (previous studies). In this study, the periodicity was significant until separation of 2011K, and a structure of deviations from randomness among dinucleotides was found. The most deviant dinucleotides were G-G, G-C and C-G for the first, second and third element of the triplet, respectively. In these three cases there were more dinucleotides observed than expected. This inter-bases correlation and periodicity may be related to the tertiary structure of circular DNA, like that of prokaryotes and mitochondria, to protect and preserve it. The mtDNA with 19.517 bp was divided into four equal segments of 4.879 bp. The fourth sub-segment presented a very low proportion of G and C, the internucleotide interaction was weaker in this sub-segment and no periodicity was found. The maintenance of this mtDNA structure and organization for millions of generations, in spite of a high recurrent mutation rate, does not support the notion of neutralism or near neutralism. The high level of internucleotide interaction and periodicity indicate that every nucleotide is co-adapted with the residual genome.