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The complete mitochondrial genome sequence of the hydrothermal vent galatheid crab Shinkaia crosnieri (Crustacea: Decapoda: Anomura): A novel arrangement and incomplete tRNA suite

Jin-Shu Yang12 and Wei-Jun Yang12*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Cell Biology and Genetics, College of Life Sciences, Zijingang Campus, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310058, PR China

2 State Conservation Center for Gene Resources of Wildlife and the Key Laboratory of Conservation Genetics and Reproductive Biology for Wild Animals of the Ministry of Education, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310058, PR China

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BMC Genomics 2008, 9:257  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-257

Published: 30 May 2008



Metazoan mitochondrial genomes usually consist of the same 37 genes. Such genes contain useful information for phylogenetic analyses and evolution modelling. Although complete mitochondrial genomes have been determined for over 1,000 animals to date, hydrothermal vent species have, thus far, remained excluded due to the scarcity of collected specimens.


The mitochondrial genome of the hydrothermal vent galatheid crab Shinkaia crosnieri is 15,182 bp in length, and is composed of 13 protein-coding genes, two ribosomal RNA genes and only 18 transfer RNA genes. The total AT content of the genome, as is typical for decapods, is 72.9%. We identified a non-coding control region of 327 bp according to its location and AT-richness. This is the smallest control region discovered in crustaceans so far. A mechanism of cytoplasmic tRNA import was addressed to compensate for the four missing tRNAs. The S. crosnieri mitogenome exhibits a novel arrangement of mitochondrial genes. We investigated the mitochondrial gene orders and found that at least six rearrangements from the ancestral pancrustacean (crustacean + hexapod) pattern have happened successively. The codon usage, nucleotide composition and bias show no substantial difference with other decapods. Phylogenetic analyses using the concatenated nucleotide and amino acid sequences of the 13 protein-coding genes prove consistent with the previous classification based upon their morphology.


The present study will supply considerable data of use for both genomic and evolutionary research on hydrothermal vent ecosystems. The mitochondrial genetic characteristics of decapods are sustained in this case of S. crosnieri despite the absence of several tRNAs and a number of dramatic rearrangements. Our results may provide evidence for the immigrating hypothesis about how vent species originate.