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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2012 May;63(2):299-304. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2011.12.021. Epub 2012 Jan 6.

Phylogenetically informative rearrangements in mitochondrial genomes of Coleoptera, and monophyly of aquatic elateriform beetles (Dryopoidea).

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Department of Entomology, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK.


Mitochondrial gene order in Coleoptera has been thought to be conservative but a survey of 60 complete or nearly complete genomes revealed a total of seven different gene rearrangements (deletions, gene order reversals), mainly affecting tRNA genes. All of these were found to be limited to a single taxon or a subclade of Coleoptera. The phylogenetic distribution of a translocation of tRNA(Pro) in three species of elateriform beetles was investigated further by sequencing three nearly complete mitochondrial genomes (Dascillidae, Byrrhidae, Limnichidae) and ten additional individuals for a ∼1370 bp diagnostic fragment spanning the relevant region. Phylogenetic analysis consistently recovered the monophyly of families previously grouped in the contentious superfamily Dryopoidea, a group of approximately 10 beetle families with mainly aquatic lifestyles. The Byrrhidae (moss beetles) were not part of this lineage, although they may be its sister group, to recover the widely accepted Byrrhoidea. The tRNA(Pro) translocation was present in all members of Dryopoidea, but not in any other Elateriformia, providing independent support for this lineage and for a single origin of aquatic habits.

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