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Open Access Research article

Complete mitochondrial DNA sequence of the European flat oyster Ostrea edulis confirms Ostreidae classification

Gwenaelle Danic-Tchaleu, Serge Heurtebise, Benjamin Morga and Sylvie Lapègue*

Author Affiliations

IFREMER, Laboratoire de Génétique et Pathologie, F-17390 La Tremblade, France

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:400  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-400

Published: 12 October 2011



Because of its typical architecture, inheritance and small size, mitochondrial (mt) DNA is widely used for phylogenetic studies. Gene order is generally conserved in most taxa although some groups show considerable variation. This is particularly true in the phylum Mollusca, especially in the Bivalvia. During the last few years, there have been significant increases in the number of complete mitochondrial sequences available. For bivalves, 35 complete mitochondrial genomes are now available in GenBank, a number that has more than doubled in the last three years, representing 6 families and 23 genera. In the current study, we determined the complete mtDNA sequence of O. edulis, the European flat oyster. We present an analysis of features of its gene content and genome organization in comparison with other Ostrea, Saccostrea and Crassostrea species.


The Ostrea edulis mt genome is 16 320 bp in length and codes for 37 genes (12 protein-coding genes, 2 rRNAs and 23 tRNAs) on the same strand. As in other Ostreidae, O. edulis mt genome contains a split of the rrnL gene and a duplication of trnM. The tRNA gene set of O. edulis, Ostrea denselamellosa and Crassostrea virginica are identical in having 23 tRNA genes, in contrast to Asian oysters, which have 25 tRNA genes (except for C. ariakensis with 24). O. edulis and O. denselamellosa share the same gene order, but differ from other Ostreidae and are closer to Crassostrea than to Saccostrea. Phylogenetic analyses reinforce the taxonomic classification of the 3 families Ostreidae, Mytilidae and Pectinidae. Within the Ostreidae family the results also reveal a closer relationship between Ostrea and Saccostrea than between Ostrea and Crassostrea.


Ostrea edulis mitogenomic analyses show a high level of conservation within the genus Ostrea, whereas they show a high level of variation within the Ostreidae family. These features provide useful information for further evolutionary analysis of oyster mitogenomes.