Papers focusing solely on mitochondrial genome sequences, especially those of metazoans, are bogging down journals, editors, and reviewers, writes David Roy Smith from the University of Western Ontario in an editorial appearing at The Scientist.
"These days, the mitochondrial genome review requests are arriving faster than I can turn them out," he says.
In 1981, the human mitochondrial genome was the first non-viral genome to be sequenced, and mitochondrial genomes continue to be crucial for archaeology and forensic work as well as for human reproductive technologies and the study of molecular evolution.
However, the literature is "saturated with mitochondrial genome papers," many of which Smith argues don't add to the body of scientific knowledge and rather represent "some researchers' desires to accumulate peer-reviewed papers."
He suggests that future mitochondrial genome studies focus on metagenomic samples or delve into the structure of the mitochondrial genome.
"Research on the chromosome structure, modes of repair, replication and expression, and the underlying proteome of mitochondrial systems are all excellent avenues for future research," Smith adds. "An emphasis on any of these different research avenues will complement nicely the huge quantity of mitochondrial genome data that are already available and growing ever larger."