Marine turtle mitogenome phylogenetics and evolution

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Sebastián Duchene
  • Amy Frey
  • Luis Alonso Alfaro-Núñez
  • Peter H. Dutton
  • Gilbert, Tom
  • Phillip A. Morin
The sea turtles are a group of cretaceous origin containing seven recognized living species: leatherback, hawksbill, Kemp's ridley, olive ridley, loggerhead, green, and flatback. The leatherback is the single member of the Dermochelidae family, whereas all other sea turtles belong in Cheloniidae. Analyses of partial mitochondrial sequences and some nuclear markers have revealed phylogenetic inconsistencies within Cheloniidae, especially regarding the placement of the flatback. Population genetic studies based on D-Loop sequences have shown considerable structuring in species with broad geographic distributions, shedding light on complex migration patterns and possible geographic or climatic events as driving forces of sea-turtle distribution. We have sequenced complete mitogenomes for all sea-turtle species, including samples from their geographic range extremes, and performed phylogenetic analyses to assess sea-turtle evolution with a large molecular dataset. We found variation in the length of the ATP8 gene and a highly variable site in ND4 near a proton translocation channel in the resulting protein. Complete mitogenomes show strong support and resolution for phylogenetic relationships among all sea turtles, and reveal phylogeographic patterns within globally-distributed species. Although there was clear concordance between phylogenies and geographic origin of samples in most taxa, we found evidence of more recent dispersal events in the loggerhead and olive ridley turtles, suggesting more recent migrations (
Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)241-250
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012

ID: 48848160