Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 60, Issue 6, pp 706–715 | Cite as

First Sequenced Mitochondrial Genome from the Phylum Acanthocephala(Leptorhynchoides thecatus) and Its Phylogenetic Position Within Metazoa

  • Michelle L. Steinauer
  • Brent B. Nickol
  • Richard Broughton
  • Guillermo Ortí


The complete sequence of the mitochondrial genome of Leptorhynchoides thecatus (Acanthocephala) was determined, and a phylogenetic analysis was carried out to determine its placement within Metazoa. The genome is circular, 13,888 bp, and contains at least 36 of the 37 genes typically found in animal mitochondrial genomes. The genes for the large and small ribosomal RNA subunits are shorter than those of most metazoans, and the structures of most of the tRNA genes are atypical. There are two significant noncoding regions (377 and 294 bp), which are the best candidates for a control region; however, these regions do not appear similar to any of the control regions of other animals studied to date. The amino acid and nucleotide sequences of the protein coding genes of L. thecatus and 25 other metazoan taxa were used in both maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony phylogenetic analyses. Results indicate that among taxa with available mitochondrial genome sequences, Platyhelminthes is the closest relative to L. thecatus, which together are the sister taxon of Nematoda; however, long branches and/or base composition bias could be responsible for this result. The monophyly of Ecdysozoa, molting organisms, was not supported by any of the analyses. This study represents the first mitochondrial genome of an acanthocephalan to be sequenced and will allow further studies of systematics, population genetics, and genome evolution.


Acanthocephala Leptorhynchoidesthecatus Mitogenomics Metazoa Phylogeny Parasite 



Partial funding for this project was provided by the University of Nebraska—Lincoln Initiative for Ecological and Evolutionary Analysis. We would also like to thank members of the Ortí lab at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln for their helpful comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle L. Steinauer
    • 1
  • Brent B. Nickol
    • 2
  • Richard Broughton
    • 3
  • Guillermo Ortí
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of New Mexico, MSC 03 2020, 1 Univesity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of Nebraska—LincolnLincolnUSA
  3. 3.Oklahoma Biological Survey and Department of ZoologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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