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This study, aimed at testing the hypothesis that some mitochondrial genes can serve as species-specific markers, involved a comparison of the sequence variance of selected mitochondrial DNA genes of the Arctic Contracaecum osculatum species (C. osculatum A, C. osculatum B and C. osculatum C). We compared differences between five complete (ND2, CYTB, ND3, ND4L and ND6) and three partial (CO1, CO3 and ND5) protein-coding genes. The total length of the sequence of each of the 13 specimens was 4830 bp. The sample consisted of C. osculatum L3 larvae collected from Reinhardtius hippoglossoides and Gadus ogac from the Barents Sea and Davis Strait. The K2P distance values between the species ranged within 0.06-0.12, the intraspecific variability (0.01-0.03) proving 3-6 times lower. The lowest interspecific divergence was observed between C. osculatum A and C. osculatum B, whereas the highest intraspecific diversity was typical of C. osculatum C. Among the C. osculatum species studied, the highest nucleotide diversity was recorded in the CYTB, CO3 and ND5 genes. These genes may be useful in species identification of the very closely related Contracaecum sibling species.


J Dzido, A Kijewska, J Rokicki. Selected mitochondrial genes as species markers of the Arctic Contracaecum osculatum complex. Journal of helminthology. 2012 Jun;86(2):252-8

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PMID: 21749741

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