Chloroplast DNA from species of five different conifer genera was extracted and studied by Southern blot analysis. For all these species, hybridization with heterologous probes specific for 16 S and 23 S rDNA detected only one chloroplast DNA fragment per enzyme digest. This observation suggests that the 16 S and 23 S rRNA genes are not duplicated in these genomes. The unique 16 S rDNA-containing BamHI fragment from Pinus contorta Dougl. was cloned and restriction mapped. Apart from the 16 S rRNA gene, this fragment also contained the psbC and psbD genes. It is concluded that the chloroplast genomes of a wide taxonomic range of conifers lack one of the inverted repeat elements and that a dislocation of the psbDC gene cluster has occurred in P. contorta.
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