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Mitochondrial genome primers for Lake Malawi cichlids

Authors


Correspondence: C. Darrin Hulsey, Fax: (001) 65-974-3067; E-mail: chulsey@utk.edu

Abstract

Resolving the evolutionary history of rapidly diversifying lineages like the Lake Malawi Cichlid Flock demands powerful phylogenetic tools. Although this clade of over 500 species of fish likely diversified in less than two million years, the availability of extensive sequence data sets, such as complete mitochondrial genomes, could help resolve evolutionary patterns in this group. Using a large number of newly developed primers, we generated whole mitochondrial genome sequences for 14 Lake Malawi cichlids. We compared sequence divergence across protein-coding regions of the mitochondrial genome and also compared divergence in the mitochondrial loci to divergence at two nuclear protein-coding loci, Mitfb and Dlx2. Despite the widespread sharing of haplotypes of identical sequences at individual loci, the combined use of all protein-coding mitochondrial loci provided a bifurcating phylogenetic hypothesis for the exemplars of major lineages within the Lake Malawi cichlid radiation. The primers presented here could have substantial utility for evolutionary analyses of mitochondrial evolution and hybridization within this diverse clade.

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