Investigating how recombination might modify gene order during the evolution has become a routine part of mitochondrial genome analysis. A new method of genomic maps analysis based on formal logic is described. The purpose of this method is to 1) use mitochondrial gene order of current taxa as datasets 2) calculate rearrangements between all mitochondrial gene orders and 3) reconstruct phylogenetic relationships according to these calculated rearrangements within a tree under the assumption of maximum parsimony. Unlike existing methods mainly based on the probabilistic approach, the main strength of this new approach is that it calculates all the exact tree solutions with completeness and provides logical consequences as highly robust results. Moreover, this method infers all possible hypothetical ancestors and reconstructs character states for all internal nodes of the trees. We started by testing our method using the deuterostomes as a study case. Then, with sponges as an outgroup, we investigated the evolutionary history of mitochondrial genomes of 47 bilaterian phyla and emphasised the peculiar case of chaetognaths. This pilot work showed that the use of formal logic in a hypothetico-deductive background such as phylogeny (where experimental testing of hypotheses is impossible) is very promising to explore mitochondrial gene order in deuterostomes and should be applied to many other bilaterian clades.
Oxusoff, L., Préa, P., & Perez, Y. (2018). A complete logical approach to resolve the evolution and dynamics of mitochondrial genome in bilaterians. PLoS ONE, 13(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194334