The complete mitochondrial genomes of intermediate host snails for Schistosoma in China were sequenced, including the sub-species Oncomelania hupensis hupensis in two types, and O. hupensis robertsoni, intermediate hosts for S. japonicum, and Tricula hortensis, the intermediate host of S. sinensium. Four genomes have completely the same gene order as in other caenogastropods, containing 13 protein-coding genes and 22 transfer RNAs. The gene size, start codon and termination codon are mostly the same for all protein-coding genes. However, pairwise sequence alignments revealed quite different degrees of variation. The ribbed-shelled O. hupensis hupensis and the smooth-shelled but with varix O. hupensis hupensis had a lower level of genetic distance (3.1% for protein-coding genes), but the coden usages differed obviously in the mitochondrial genomes of these two types of snails, implying that their genetic difference may be larger than previously recognized. The mean genetic distance between O. hupensis hupensis and O. hupensis robertsoni was 12% for protein-coding genes, indicating a higher degree of genetic difference. In consideration of the difference in morphology and distribution, we considered that O. hupensis hupensis and O. hupensis robertsoni can be considered as separate species. The ribbed-shelled O. hupensis hupensis and smooth-shelled O. hupensis robertsoni were phylogenetically clustered together within a same clade, which was then clustered with T. hortensis, confirming their close relationship. However, species or sub-species in the Oncomelania from southeastern Asian countries should be included in future study in order to resolve the phylogenetic relationship and origination of all snails in the genus. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
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