, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 527–538 | Cite as

Nuclear mitochondrial DNA: an Achilles’ heel of molecular systematics, phylogenetics, and phylogeographic studies of stingless bees

  • Maykon P. Cristiano
  • Tânia M. Fernandes-Salomão
  • Karla S. C. Yotoko
Original paper


Mitochondrial-like DNA (numt) has been found in a variety of insect species. In this work, our objective was to create a phylogeographic hypothesis of Melipona capixaba based on the complete COI sequence. However, several inconsistencies were found, such as 1–2-bp-long indels and a stop codon within the putative amino acid sequences. This led us to infer that M. capixaba has numts. A phylogenetic analysis which included COI sequences of several species of Melipona Illiger, 1806 revealed that numts are also common among other species of the genus. Based on our results, we have proposed a checklist to help to identify the most conspicuous numts; however, it does not ensure that all numts will be identified, since not all numts present explicit signals. Therefore, we recommend taking the maximum care in phylogeographic and phylogenetic analysis within Melipona as well as Hymenoptera, since several evidences of numts were found within this order.


numts cytochrome c oxidase subunit I Melipona 



This research was part of the M.Sc. dissertation of MPC who was supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG, Process numbers: CBB-1331/06) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes). We are grateful to Dr. Lucio Antonio de Oliveira Campos for his assistance and encouragement, to the M. Sc. Helder Resende and Íris Stanciola for collecting samples, and to the bee keepers that kindly provided the specimens analyzed.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PDF 504 kb)


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Copyright information

© INRA, DIB and Springer-Verlag, France 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maykon P. Cristiano
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tânia M. Fernandes-Salomão
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karla S. C. Yotoko
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratório de Biologia Molecular, Departamento de Biologia GeralUniversidade Federal de Viçosa—UFVViçosaBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Genética e MelhoramentoUniversidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratório de Bioinformática e Evolução, Departamento de Biologia GeralUniversidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil
  4. 4.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Entomologia—Universidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil

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