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Trends Genet. 2007 Sep;23(9):419-22. Epub 2007 Jul 20.

Mitogenomics reveals two cryptic species in Ciona intestinalis.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Biomolecolari e Biotecnologie, Università di Milano, Via Celoria 26, 20133 Milano, Italy.


Individual mitochondrial genes or genomic features are commonly used as phylogenetic markers at many taxonomic levels. We used a mitogenomics approach to demonstrate the existence of two cryptic species in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis, a model chordate whose status as a single species has recently been questioned. Comprehensive comparative analysis of the mitochondrial genome of the two cryptic species revealed significant differences in gene order, size and number of noncoding regions, compositional features and divergence of protein-coding genes.

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