Journal Article

First Complete Mitochondrial Genome Sequence from a Box Jellyfish Reveals a Highly Fragmented Linear Architecture and Insights into Telomere Evolution

David Roy Smith, Ehsan Kayal, Angel A. Yanagihara, Allen G. Collins, Stacy Pirro and Patrick J. Keeling

in Genome Biology and Evolution

Published on behalf of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 4, issue 1, pages 52-58
Published in print January 2012 |
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1759-6653 | DOI:

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Animal mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNAs) are typically single circular chromosomes, with the exception of those from medusozoan cnidarians (jellyfish and hydroids), which are linear and sometimes fragmented. Most medusozoans have linear monomeric or linear bipartite mitochondrial genomes, but preliminary data have suggested that box jellyfish (cubozoans) have mtDNAs that consist of many linear chromosomes. Here, we present the complete mtDNA sequence from the winged box jellyfish Alatina moseri (the first from a cubozoan). This genome contains unprecedented levels of fragmentation: 18 unique genes distributed over eight 2.9- to 4.6-kb linear chromosomes. The telomeres are identical within and between chromosomes, and recombination between subtelomeric sequences has led to many genes initiating or terminating with sequences from other genes (the most extreme case being 150 nt of a ribosomal RNA containing the 5′ end of nad2), providing evidence for a gene conversion–based model of telomere evolution. The silent-site nucleotide variation within the A. moseri mtDNA is among the highest observed from a eukaryotic genome and may be associated with elevated rates of recombination.

Keywords: Alatina moseri; Cnidaria; Cubozoa; gene conversion; inverted repeat; nucleotide diversity

Journal Article.  3491 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology ; Evolutionary Biology ; Genetics and Genomics

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