Research Article

Phylogenetic analysis of the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) from China based on mitochondrial genome

Published: September 16, 2016
Genet. Mol. Res. 15(3): gmr7703 DOI: 10.4238/gmr.15037703

Abstract

Meriones unguiculatus (Gerbillinae, Rodentia) is widely used as an animal model of human disease. Here, we provide the first report of the complete mitochondrial genome sequence of M. unguiculatus (GenBank accession Nos. KF425526 and NC_023263). The sequence contained the conserved vertebrate pattern of 13 protein-coding genes, 2 ribosomal RNAs, 22 transfer RNAs, and 1 major noncoding region. We identified one extended termination-associated sequence and one conserved sequence block in the non-coding region. The putative origin of replication for the light strand (OL) was 35 bp long. The OL stem and adjacent sequences were highly conserved, but the loop region differed from those of other rodent species. Base composition and codon usage of the 13 protein-coding genes in M. unguiculatus were compared with those of 23 rodent species with previously sequenced mitochondrial genomes. An A+T content of 63.0% was present in M. unguiculatus; this is similar to the Murinae average (62.4 ± 0.8%) and falls between the average for Mus musculus (63.1 ± 0.1%) and Rattus sp (61.7 ± 0.4%). The AT and GC skew values of M. unguiculatus were 0.035 and -0.28, respectively, similar to those of Cricetinae species (0.057 ± 0.05 and -0.31 ± 0.05). The codon families exhibited similar abundance in all 24 species. Analysis of phylogenetic relationships with 23 other rodent species using neighbor-joining and maximum likelihood protocols and the 12 protein-coding regions on the H strand showed that M. unguiculatus should be classified as genus Meriones, sub-family Gerbillinae, family Muridae.

Meriones unguiculatus (Gerbillinae, Rodentia) is widely used as an animal model of human disease. Here, we provide the first report of the complete mitochondrial genome sequence of M. unguiculatus (GenBank accession Nos. KF425526 and NC_023263). The sequence contained the conserved vertebrate pattern of 13 protein-coding genes, 2 ribosomal RNAs, 22 transfer RNAs, and 1 major noncoding region. We identified one extended termination-associated sequence and one conserved sequence block in the non-coding region. The putative origin of replication for the light strand (OL) was 35 bp long. The OL stem and adjacent sequences were highly conserved, but the loop region differed from those of other rodent species. Base composition and codon usage of the 13 protein-coding genes in M. unguiculatus were compared with those of 23 rodent species with previously sequenced mitochondrial genomes. An A+T content of 63.0% was present in M. unguiculatus; this is similar to the Murinae average (62.4 ± 0.8%) and falls between the average for Mus musculus (63.1 ± 0.1%) and Rattus sp (61.7 ± 0.4%). The AT and GC skew values of M. unguiculatus were 0.035 and -0.28, respectively, similar to those of Cricetinae species (0.057 ± 0.05 and -0.31 ± 0.05). The codon families exhibited similar abundance in all 24 species. Analysis of phylogenetic relationships with 23 other rodent species using neighbor-joining and maximum likelihood protocols and the 12 protein-coding regions on the H strand showed that M. unguiculatus should be classified as genus Meriones, sub-family Gerbillinae, family Muridae.