Rates and relations of mitochondrial genome evolution across the Echinoidea, with special focus on the superfamily Odontophora

Áki Jarl Láruson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In order to better characterize the placement of genus Tripneustes, as a representative of the Toxopneustidae family within the broader sea urchin mitochondrial (MT) phylogeny, the complete MT genome of Tripneustes gratilla was generated and compared with all published echinoid MT genomes currently available on NCBI GenBank. The MT genome phylogeny supports the existence of the superfamily Odontophora (consisting of the families Strongylocentrotidae, Echinometridae, and Toxopneustidae). A relaxed molecular-clock time calibration suggests a split between the three key Odontophore MT lineages occurred during the late Eocene/Oligocene. Major global oceanographic changes have been inferred during this time frame, potentially driving species diversification through environmental selection pressures. To test for signatures of selection acting on the mitochondria, the historical rate of gene evolution of individual MT genes was assessed through a branch-site comparison of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution ratios (ω). Models of positive selection and neutral evolution, as compared via a likelihood ratio test, show no evidence of strong historical positive selection on mitochondrial genes at the genesis of the Odontophora. However, while pairwise ω comparison revealed signatures of strong negative selection, relatively elevated ω values were observed within the Strongylocentrotus genus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4543-4551
Number of pages9
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded and made possible by the Jessie D. Kay Memorial Fellowship, the Hampton & Meredith Carson Fellowship administered by the Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology specialization program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, a Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research, and the Linnean Society of London & Systematics Association Research Fund. The author would like to gratefully acknowledge the input and guidance of Dr. Floyd Reed and Dr. Robert Thomson, both at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Department of Biology. Special thanks to Victoria Sindorf for comments and corrections. Additional thanks to associate editor Will Allen and two anonymous reviewers, for helpful comments and suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Other keywords

  • Echinoidea
  • gene evolution
  • mitochondrial genome
  • Odontophora
  • Tripneustes gratilla


Dive into the research topics of 'Rates and relations of mitochondrial genome evolution across the Echinoidea, with special focus on the superfamily Odontophora'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this