Mitochondria from S-type cytoplasmic male-sterile maize contain two small DNA species, S1 and S2, which are absent from other fertile and male-sterile cytoplasms. These species have been cloned in plasmid pBR322 by the homopolymer extension method. Probes made with these recombinant plasmids have been used to establish the homology between high molecular weight mitochondrial DNAs of fertile and male-sterile cytoplasms, and small mitochondrial plasmid-like molecules. Hybridization and mapping data show that S2 DNA copies are homologuous with sequences of the normal mitochondrial genome. A comparison of physical maps of different isolated mtDNA fragments indicates a heterogeneous arrangement of S2 sequences in the mtDNA population of normal fertile maize cytoplasm. The origin of this heterogeneity is discussed.
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