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    Most of owls are nocturnal raptor and usually use their soft and fluffy feathers to flight silently to catch prey while other diurnal raptors prefer fierce attack and swift flight. For energy cost of these different hunting strategies can be greatly different, we speculate that mitochondrial gene of owls may undergo a different evolution pattern following raptors evolution. To test our hypothesis, we sequenced the mtDNA genome of Otus sunia and calculated the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous nucleotide substitutions (ω, Ka/Ks, dN/dS) of raptors. The mtDNA genome of O. sunia was 17,609 bp in length, containing 13 PCGs, 2 ribosomal RNAs, 22 transfer RNAs and a control region. Secondly structure of tRNAs and rRNAs were predicted and conserved sequence blocks (CSBs) on control region were identified. The Bayesian inference tree and maximum likelihood tree based on 13 PCGs and 2 rRNAs suggested the owls were related to other raptors. Finally, calculation of ω-values of each owls and other raptors mtDNA PCGs indicated that owls accumulated more nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions relative to synonymous substitutions compared to other raptors. For mtDNA PCGs associated with energy metabolism, this finding may reveal the degeneration of flight abilities of owls. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Yun Zhong, Ming Zhou, Bo Ouyang, Changjun Zeng, Ming Zhang, Jiandong Yang. Complete mtDNA genome of Otus sunia (Aves, Strigidae) and the relaxation of selective constrains on Strigiformes mtDNA following evolution. Genomics. 2020 Sep;112(5):3815-3825

    PMID: 32135299

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