The complete mitochondrial genome of the loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta (Testudines: Cheloniidae): Genome description and phylogenetic considerations

  • Drosopoulou E
  • Tsiamis G
  • Mavropoulou M
 et al. 
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The marine turtle Caretta caretta is a widely distributed species that is facing critical population decline, especially in the Mediterranean rookeries. Molecular markers, such as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences, are of great importance for the description and monitoring of turtle migratory populations. The complete sequence of the C. caretta mitochondrial genome is presented here. The genome comprises 16,440 base pairs, containing 37 genes (13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNA genes, and 2 rRNA genes), and a control region, all organized similar to the majority of vertebrate mitogenomes. MtDNA length polymorphism and heteroplasmy were observed among, and within, individuals due to the variable size of a microsatellite repeat residing at the 3' end of the control region. The use of the above repeat as a marker for individual fingerprinting is discussed. Furthermore, phylogenetic analyses among Testudines based on complete mitogenomes, as well as among marine turtles based on partial mtDNA sequences, are considered.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Mitogenome
  • individual fingerprinting
  • microsatellite repeats
  • turtle phylogeny

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