Mitochondrial genomes of African pangolins and insights into evolutionary patterns and phylogeny of the family Manidae

BMC Genomics
Zelda Du ToitAntoinette Kotzé


This study used next generation sequencing to generate the mitogenomes of four African pangolin species; Temminck's ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii), giant ground pangolin (S. gigantea), white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) and black-bellied pangolin (P. tetradactyla). The results indicate that the mitogenomes of the African pangolins are 16,558 bp for S. temminckii, 16,540 bp for S. gigantea, 16,649 bp for P. tetradactyla and 16,565 bp for P. tricuspis. Phylogenetic comparisons of the African pangolins indicated two lineages with high posterior probabilities providing evidence to support the classification of two genera; Smutsia and Phataginus. The total GC content between African pangolins was observed to be similar between species (36.5% - 37.3%). The most frequent codon was found to be A or C at the 3rd codon position. Significant variations in GC-content and codon usage were observed for several regions between African and Asian pangolin species which may be attributed to mutation pressure and/or natural selection. Lastly, a total of two insertions of 80 bp and 28 bp in size respectively was observed in the control region of the black-bellied pangolin which were absent in the other African pangolin species. Th...Continue Reading


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