Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 86, Issue 3–4, pp 187–189 | Cite as

First Report of a Mitochondrial Pseudogene in Agnathan Vertebrates (Cyclostomata: Petromyzontidae)

  • Rex Meade Strange
  • Kimberly J. Delaney
Letter to the Editor


We report herein the characterization of a nuclear paralog of a fragment of the mitochondrial genome (a numt) in two closely related species of lampreys (Ichthyomyzon spp.). Although numts have been characterized in several vertebrate taxa, numts have yet to be reported for fishes in general. Given the phylogenetic position of lampreys relative to other vertebrates, the presence of numts within the lamprey genome is either evidence of an ancestral trait lost in other fishes but uniquely retained in agnathans and amniotes, or (more intriguingly) a product of the genome rearrangements these animals undergo during development.


Genome evolution mtDNA NUMT Lamprey 



We would like to thank our friends and colleagues who contributed specimens (T. Buchinger, D. Herzog, and S. Miehls), assisted with collections (G. Adams), and provided locality information from their personal collection notes (D. Eisenhour, B. Fisher, and G. Weddle). K. Conway and H. Prestridge kindly provided the I. gagei specimen from Texas (TCWC17259.01). This work was partially funded by an internal Grant to KJD and resources supplied by the Department of Biology, University of Southern Indiana.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest to disclose.


  1. April J, Mayden RL, Hanner RH, Bernatchez L (2011) Genetic calibration of species diversity among North America’s freshwater fishes. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108:10602–10607CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Bensasson D, Zhang DX, Hartl DL, Hewitt GM (2001) Mitochondrial pseudogenes: evolution’s misplaced witnesses. Trends Ecol Evol 16:314–321CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Covelo-Soto L, Moran P, Pasantes JJ, Perez-Garcia C (2014) Cytogenetic evidences of genome rearrangement and differential epigenetic chromatin modification in the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). Genetica 142:545–554CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Docker MF (2009) A review of the evolution of nonparasitism in lampreys and an update of the paired species concept. Am Fish Soc Symp 72:71–114Google Scholar
  5. Hay JM, Sarre SD, Daugherty CH (2004) Nuclear mitochondrial pseudogenes as molecular outgroups for phylogenetically isolated taxa: a case study in Sphenodon. Heredity 93:468–475CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Kim JH, Antunes A, Luo SJ, Menninger J, Nash WG, O’Brien SJ, Johnson WE (2006) Evolutionary analysis of a large mtDNA translocation (numt) into the nuclear genome of the Panthera genus species. Gene 366:292–302CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Lang NJ, Roe KJ, Renaud CB, Gill HS, Potter IC, Freyhof J, Naseka AM, Cochran P, Perez HE, Habit EM, Kahajda BR, Neely DA, Reshetnikov YS, Salnikov VB, Stoumboudi MT, Mayden RL (2009) Novel relationships among lampreys (Petromyzontiformes) revealed by a taxonomically comprehensive molecular data set. Am Fish Soc Symp 72: 41–55Google Scholar
  8. Lopez JV, Yuhki N, Masuda R, Modi W, O’Brien SJ (1994) Numt, a recent transfer and tandem amplification of mitochondrial DNA to the nuclear genome of the domestic cat. J Mol Evol 39:174–190PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Lu XM, Fu YX, Zhang YP (2002) Evolution of mitochondrial cytochrome b pseudogene in genus Nycticebus. Mol Biol Evol 19:2337–2341CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Osorio J, Retaux S (2008) The lamprey in evolutionary studies. Dev Genes Evol 218:221–235CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Podnar M, Haring E, Pinsker W, Mayer W (2007) Unusual origin of a nuclear pseudogene in the Italian wall lizard: intergenomic and interspecific transfer of a large section of the mitochondrial genome in the genus Podarcis (Lacertidae). J Mol Evol 64:308–320CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Qu H, Ma F, Li W (2008) Comparative analysis of mitochondrial fragments transferred to the nucleus in vertebrate. J Genet Genom 35:485–490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Schmitz J, Piskurek O, Zischler H (2005) Forty million years of independent evolution: a mitochondrial gene and its corresponding nuclear pseudogene in primates. J Mol Evol 61:1–11CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Smith JJ, Antonacci F, Eichler EE, Amemiya CT (2009) Programmed loss of millions of base pairs from a vertebrate genome. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:11212–11217CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Song H, Buhay JE, Whiting MF, Crandall KA (2008) Many species in one: DNA barcoding overestimates the number of species when nuclear mitochondrial pseodogenes are coamplified. PNAS 105:13486–13491CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Strange RM, Truong VT, Delaney KJ (2016) The mitogenome of the southern brook lamprey, Ichthyomyzon gagei (Cyclostomata: Petromyzontidae). Mitochondrial DNA B 1:903–904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Triant DA, DeWoody JA (2008) Molecular analyses and mitochondrial pseudogenes within the nuclear genome of arvicoline rodents. Genetica 132:21–33CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Triant DA, DeWoody JA (2009) Demography and phylogenetic utility of numt pseudogenes in the southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi). J Mammal 90:561–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Zischler H, Geisert H, von Haeseler A, Paabo S (1995) A nuclear ‘fossil’ of the mitochondrial D-loop and the origin of modern humans. Nature 378:489–492CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Southern IndianaEvansvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations