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Mitochondrial genomic diversity in non-bilaterian animals: implications for phylogeny and evolution


Dennis Lavrov (Iowa State University, USA)

Mitochondria – the energy producing organelles present in most eukaryotic cells – contain their own genome (mt-genome or mtDNA), separate from that of the nucleus. While mt-genomes of bilaterian animals are relatively uniform, those of non-bilaterian animals (phyla Cnidaria, Ctenophora, Placozoa, and Porifera) display remarkably different modes and tempos of evolution. Furthermore, large differences in mtDNA organization are found within Porifera and Cnidaria.  Here I review our current understanding of mtDNA evolution in non-bilaterian animals and its implication for phylogenetic inference based on mitochondrial data.