Ribosomal DNA intracellular journey and the new upcoming ribosomal organelle

Document Type: Regular Paper


1 University of Belgrade, Vinca Institute for Nuclear Sciences, Department of Radiobiology and Molecular Genetics, Belgrade, Serbia

2 University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Science, Novi Sad, Serbia


Human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is 16,569 base pairs (bp) in length, coding for 37 genes. During the course of evolution, nearly all the genes expressing ribosomal proteins and ribosomal RNAs (rRNA) genes have been transferred from the mitochondria to the nucleus. However, mitochondrial DNA contains two ribosomal RNAs genes (12S and 16S), which have not yet transferred to the nucleus. These two, should, soon or later, end up in the nucleus. What does the future likely hold for these genes? In the nucleus everything has already been prepared, since all of the ribosomal protein genes are now chromosomally encoded, and nucleolar organizers, the nucleolus, and 45 rDNA are developed waiting for 12S rRNA and 16S rRNA genes to join them, thus enabling the formation of the third DNA-containing organelle, the ribosomal compartment. What could be the reason for this major event in the existence of life on Earth as it is currently understood? The advent of the ribosomal organelle will likely have an enormous impact on reproductive characteristics and on intellectual (thoughts, abstract and complex ideas, imagination, dreams, spirit) activity of the brain. Could this be the answer to the question: Are humans still evolving?