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      Comparative mitogenomic analyses of three scallops (Bivalvia: Pectinidae) reveal high level variation of genomic organization and a diversity of transfer RNA gene sets

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      BMC Research Notes

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          It can be seen from the available mollusk mitogenomes that the family Pectinidae exhibits the most variation in genome organization. In this study, comparative mitogenomic analyses were performed for three scallops from the subfamily Chlamydinae (Pectinidae), with the goal of characterizing the degree of variability of mitogenome organization and other characteristics among species from the same subfamily and exploring their possible evolution route.


          The complete or nearly complete mtDNA sequences of scallop Mimachlamys nobilis (17 935 bp), Mizuhopecten yessoensis (20 964 bp) and Chlamys farreri (17 035 bp) were determined using long PCR amplification and primer walking sequencing strategy. Highly variable size difference of the three genomes resulted primarily from length and number variations of non-coding regions, and the major difference in gene content of the three scallop species are due to varying tRNA gene sets. Only 21, 16, and 17 tRNA genes were detected in the mitogenomes of M. nobilis, M. yessoensis and C. farreri, respectively. Remarkably, no trnS gene could be identified in any of the three scallops. A newly-detected trnA-like sequence within the mitogenome of M. yessoensis seems to exemplify the functional loss of a tRNA gene, and the duplication of trnD in M. yessoensis raises a fundamental question of whether the retention of the tRNA gene copy of 2-tRNAs is easier than that of 4-tRNAs. Analysis of putative evolutionary pathways of gene rearrangement indicates that transposition of neighboring gene blocks may play an important role in the evolution of mitogenomes in scallops. Parsimonious analysis of the genomic variations implies that the mitogenomes of M. yessoensis and C. farreri are likely to derive independently from a common ancestor that was closely related to M. nobilis.


          Comparative mitogenomic analyses among three species from the subfamily Chlamydinae show that the three genomes exhibit a high level of genomic variation and a diversity of tRNA gene sets, characterized by extensive translocation of genes. These features provide useful clues and information for evolutionary analysis of scallop mitogenomes.

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          Most cited references 12

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          tRNAscan-SE: a program for improved detection of transfer RNA genes in genomic sequence.

          We describe a program, tRNAscan-SE, which identifies 99-100% of transfer RNA genes in DNA sequence while giving less than one false positive per 15 gigabases. Two previously described tRNA detection programs are used as fast, first-pass prefilters to identify candidate tRNAs, which are then analyzed by a highly selective tRNA covariance model. This work represents a practical application of RNA covariance models, which are general, probabilistic secondary structure profiles based on stochastic context-free grammars. tRNAscan-SE searches at approximately 30 000 bp/s. Additional extensions to tRNAscan-SE detect unusual tRNA homologues such as selenocysteine tRNAs, tRNA-derived repetitive elements and tRNA pseudogenes.
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            Animal mitochondrial genomes.

             Jeffrey Boore (1999)
            Animal mitochondrial DNA is a small, extrachromosomal genome, typically approximately 16 kb in size. With few exceptions, all animal mitochondrial genomes contain the same 37 genes: two for rRNAs, 13 for proteins and 22 for tRNAs. The products of these genes, along with RNAs and proteins imported from the cytoplasm, endow mitochondria with their own systems for DNA replication, transcription, mRNA processing and translation of proteins. The study of these genomes as they function in mitochondrial systems-'mitochondrial genomics'-serves as a model for genome evolution. Furthermore, the comparison of animal mitochondrial gene arrangements has become a very powerful means for inferring ancient evolutionary relationships, since rearrangements appear to be unique, generally rare events that are unlikely to arise independently in separate evolutionary lineages. Complete mitochondrial gene arrangements have been published for 58 chordate species and 29 non-chordate species, and partial arrangements for hundreds of other taxa. This review compares and summarizes these gene arrangements and points out some of the questions that may be addressed by comparing mitochondrial systems.
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              Evolution of mitochondrial gene content: gene loss and transfer to the nucleus.

              Mitochondrial gene content is highly variable across extant eukaryotes. The number of mitochondrial protein genes varies from 3 to 67, while tRNA gene content varies from 0 to 27. Moreover, these numbers exclude the many diverse lineages of non-respiring eukaryotes that lack a mitochondrial genome yet still contain a mitochondrion, albeit one often highly derived in ultrastructure and metabolic function, such as the hydrogenosome. Diversity in tRNA gene content primarily reflects differential usage of imported tRNAs of nuclear origin. In the case of protein genes, most of this diversity reflects differential degrees of functional gene transfer to the nucleus, with more minor contributions resulting from gene loss from the cell as a consequence of either substitution via a functional nuclear homolog or the cell's dispensation of the function of the gene product. The tempo and pattern of mitochondrial gene loss is highly episodic, both across the broad sweep of eukaryotes and within such well-studied groups as angiosperms. All animals, some plants, and certain other groups of eukaryotes are mired in profound stases in mitochondrial gene content, whereas other lineages have experienced relatively frequent gene loss. Loss and transfer to the nucleus of ribosomal protein and succinate dehydrogenase genes has been especially frequent, sporadic, and episodic during angiosperm evolution. Potential mechanisms for activation of transferred genes have been inferred, and intermediate stages in the process have been identified by comparative studies. Several hypotheses have been proposed for why mitochondrial genes are transferred to the nucleus, why mitochondria retain genomes, and why functional gene transfer is almost exclusively unidirectional.

                Author and article information

                BMC Res Notes
                BMC Research Notes
                BioMed Central
                5 May 2009
                : 2
                : 69
                [1 ]Key Laboratory of Marine Bio-resource Sustainable Utilization, Laboratory of Applied Marine Biology; South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 164 West Xingang Road, Guangzhou 510301, PR China
                Copyright © 2009 Yu et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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