Planarian mitochondria sequence heterogeneity: relationships between the type of cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene sequence, karyotype and genital organ


Yoshitaka Bessho Fax: + 81-52-789-2974 E-mail:


Freshwater planarians Dugesia japonica from three localities were examined for cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene sequence, karyotype and the presence of genital organ. The planarians from Mt Fujiwara in Japan were composed of two different groups; one revealed inter- and intraindividual COI gene heterogeneity, while another revealed no sequence heterogeneity. The sequence in planarians from Mt Alishan in Taiwan was homogeneous, while that from the Kenting National Park in Taiwan revealed a considerable heterogeneity. All the planarians having the homogeneous gene sequences carry the 2X karyotype and many of them had genital organs. These are assumed to belong to the sexual lineage. In contrast, almost all planarians having heterogeneous sequences carry the karyotype of either 3X plus 2X (mixoploid) or 3X, and all of them lack genital organs. These lineages are assumed to be asexual. The heterogeneity of COI gene sequences in the presumed asexual lineages would have resulted from an accumulation of mutations by repeated asexual reproduction.