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Gene. 2014 Apr 10;539(1):44-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2014.01.064. Epub 2014 Feb 4.

The complete mitochondrial genome sequence of the world's largest fish, the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), and its comparison with those of related shark species.

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Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Atlanta, GA, USA; Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Human Genetics, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Georgia Aquarium Research Center, Atlanta, GA, USA. Electronic address:


The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the largest extant species of fish, belonging to the order Orectolobiformes. It is listed as a "vulnerable" species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List of Threatened Species, which makes it an important species for conservation efforts. We report here the first complete sequence of the mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) of the whale shark obtained by next-generation sequencing methods. The assembled mitogenome is a 16,875 bp circle, comprising of 13 protein-coding genes, two rRNA genes, 22 tRNA genes and a control region. We also performed comparative analysis of the whale shark mitogenome to the available mitogenome sequences of 17 other shark species, four from the order Orectolobiformes, five from Lamniformes and eight from Carcharhiniformes. The nucleotide composition, number and arrangement of the genes in whale shark mitogenome are the same as found in the mitogenomes of the other members of the order Orectolobiformes and its closest orders Lamniformes and Carcharhiniformes, although the whale shark mitogenome had a slightly longer control region. The availability of mitogenome sequence of whale shark will aid studies of molecular systematics, biogeography, genetic differentiation, and conservation genetics in this species.


Genome; Mitochondria; Mitogenome; Phylogeny; Whale shark

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