Family-level sampling of mitochondrial genomes in coleoptera: compositional heterogeneity and phylogenetics

Timmermans, Martijn J. T. N. ORCID logoORCID:, Barton, Christopher, Haran, Julien, Ahrens, Dirk, Culverwell, C. Lorna, Ollikainen, Alison, Dodsworth, Steven, Foster, Peter G., Bocak, Ladislav and Vogler, Alfried P. (2016) Family-level sampling of mitochondrial genomes in coleoptera: compositional heterogeneity and phylogenetics. Genome Biology and Evolution, 8 (1) . pp. 161-175. ISSN 1759-6653 [Article] (doi:10.1093/gbe/evv241)

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Mitochondrial genomes are readily sequenced with recent technology and thus evolutionary lineages can be sampled more densely. This permits better phylogenetic estimates and assessment of potential biases resulting from heterogeneity in nucleotide composition and rate of change. We gathered 245 mitochondrial sequences for the Coleoptera representing all 4 suborders, 15 superfamilies of Polyphaga, and altogether 97 families, including 159 newly sequenced full or partial mitogenomes. Compositional heterogeneity greatly affected 3rd codon positions, and to a lesser extent the 1st and 2nd positions, even after RY coding. Heterogeneity also affected the encoded protein sequence, in particular in the nad2, nad4, nad5 and nad6 genes. Credible tree topologies were obtained with the nhPhyML (‘non-homogeneous’) algorithm implementing a model for branch-specific equilibrium frequencies. Likelihood searches using RAxML were improved by data partitioning by gene and codon position. Finally, the PhyloBayes software, which allows different substitution processes for amino acid replacement at various sites, produced a tree that best matched known higher-level taxa and defined basal relationships in Coleoptera. After rooting with Neuropterida outgroups, suborder relationships were resolved as (Polyphaga (Myxophaga (Archostemata + Adephaga))). The infraorder relationships in Polyphaga were (Scirtiformia (Elateriformia (Staphyliniformia + Scarabaeiformia (Bostrichiformia (Cucujiformia)))). Polyphagan superfamilies were recovered as monophyla except Staphylinoidea (paraphyletic for Scarabaeiformia) and Cucujoidea, which can no longer be considered a valid taxon. The study shows that, whilst compositional heterogeneity is not universal, it cannot be eliminated for some mitochondrial genes, but dense taxon sampling and the use of appropriate Bayesian analyses can still produce robust phylogenetic trees.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: First published online: December 8, 2015
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
Item ID: 18864
Notes on copyright: © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact
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Depositing User: Martijn Timmermans
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2016 10:48
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 22:07

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