A comparative analysis of the complete mitochondrial genome of the Eurasian otter Lutra lutra (Carnivora; Mustelidae)
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Otter populations are declining throughout the world and most otter species are considered endangered. Molecular methods are suitable tools for population genetic research on endangered species. In the present study, we analyzed the complete mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) sequence of the Eurasian otter Lutra lutra. The mitochondrial DNA sequence of the Eurasian otter is 16,505 bp in length and consists of 13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNAs, 2 rRNAs, and a control region (CR). The CR sequence of otters from Europe and Asia showed nearly identical numbers and nucleotide sequences of minisatellites. Phylogenetic analysis of Mustelidae mitogenomes, including individual genes, revealed that Lutrinae and Mustelinae form a clade, and that L. lutra and Enhydra lutris are sister taxa within the Lutrinae. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that of the 13 mitochondrial protein-coding genes, ND5 is the most reliable marker for analysis of phylogenetic relationships within the Mustelidae.