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Gene. 2008 Feb 29;410(1):177-86. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2007.12.002. Epub 2007 Dec 14.

The mitochondrial genome of Hydra oligactis (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa) sheds new light on animal mtDNA evolution and cnidarian phylogeny.

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  • 1Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


The 16,314-nuceotide sequence of the linear mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) molecule of Hydra oligactis (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa)--the first from the class Hydrozoa--has been determined. This sequence contains genes for 13 energy pathway proteins, small and large subunit rRNAs, and methionine and tryptophan tRNAs, as is typical for cnidarians. All genes have the same transcriptional orientation and their arrangement in the genome is similar to that of the jellyfish Aurelia aurita. In addition, a partial copy of cox1 is present at one end of the molecule in a transcriptional orientation opposite to the rest of the genes, forming a part of inverted terminal repeat characteristic of linear mtDNA and linear mitochondrial plasmids. The sequence close to at least one end of the molecule contains several homonucleotide runs as well as small inverted repeats that are able to form strong secondary structures and may be involved in mtDNA maintenance and expression. Phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial genes of H. oligactis and other cnidarians supports the Medusozoa hypothesis but also suggests that Anthozoa may be paraphyletic, with octocorallians more closely related to the Medusozoa than to the Hexacorallia. The latter inference implies that Anthozoa is paraphyletic and that the polyp (rather than a medusa) is the ancestral body type in Cnidaria.

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