Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 381–389 | Cite as

Evolution of a Unique Mitotype-Specific Protein-Coding Extension of the Cytochrome c Oxidase II Gene in Freshwater Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionoida)

  • Jason P. Curole
  • Thomas D. Kocher


A unique mode of mitochondrial DNA inheritance, designated doubly-uniparental inheritance (DUI), occurs in three bivalve subclasses (Pteriomorpha: Mytiloida, Palaeoheterodonta: Unionoida, Heterodonta: Veneroida), indicating that DUI may be a widespread phenomenon among bivalves. In mytiloids, breakdown of this pattern of inheritance (gender-switching) is observed in natural populations and in a phylogenetic context. In contrast, gender-switching has not occurred during the evolutionary history of unionoids. Here we present sequences for the male (M) and female (F) mitotypes from an additional 8 species of Unionoida. Consistent with previous observations, the M and F mitotypes of all species form reciprocally monophyletic clades supporting the hypothesis of taxon-specific rates of gender-switching. Coinciding with the absence of gender-switching is an ≈185 codon extension of the cytochrome c oxidase II (MTCO2) locus in the male genome. The extension is present in all 12 unionoid species examined, including a representative of the family Margaritiferidae, indicating that this protein-coding polymorphism originated ≥ 200 MYBP. Although the extension is well conserved in length among 11 of the 12 species, one taxon has a significantly shortened extension. Lastly, examination of the rates and patterns of substitution indicate that the extension is evolving under relaxed purging selection, a pattern inconsistent with the conserved nature of MTCO2 or any cytochrome c oxidase locus.


Unionidae Margaritiferidae Sex-specific Doubly-uniparental inheritance Mitochondrial inheritance 



We thank Dennis Hedgecock and four anonymous reviewers for comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hubbard Center for Genome StudiesUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

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