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PeerJ. 2018 Jun 13;6:e5007. doi: 10.7717/peerj.5007. eCollection 2018.

Evaluating the utility of the female-specific mitochondrial f-orf gene for population genetic, phylogeographic and systematic studies in freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionida).

Author information

Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, Canada.
Current affiliation:  Department of Biology, Life Science Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.
Department of Biological Sciences, Kent State University, Kent, United States of America.
Department of Biological Sciences, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, United States of America.
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada.
Contributed equally


Freshwater mussels (order: Unionida) represent one of the most critically imperilled groups of animals; consequently, there exists a need to establish a variety of molecular markers for population genetics and systematic studies in this group. Recently, two novel mitochondrial protein-coding genes were described in unionoids with doubly uniparental inheritance of mtDNA. These genes are the f-orf in female-transmitted mtDNA and the m-orf in male-transmitted mtDNA. In this study, whole F-type mitochondrial genome sequences of two morphologically similar Lampsilis spp. were compared to identify the most divergent protein-coding regions, including the f-orf gene, and evaluate its utility for population genetic and phylogeographic studies in the subfamily Ambleminae. We also tested whether the f-orf gene is phylogenetically informative at the species level. Our preliminary results indicated that the f-orf gene could represent a viable molecular marker for population- and species-level studies in freshwater mussels.


Bivalvia; DNA barcode; Doubly uniparental inheritance of mtDNA; Freshwater mussels; Mitochondrial DNA; Molecular markers; Unionida

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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