Complete Mitochondrial Genome Sequences of Chinese Indigenous Sheep with Different Tail Types and an Analysis of Phylogenetic Evolution in Domestic Sheep

  • Fan, Hongying (College of Animal Science and Technology, Gansu Agricultural University) ;
  • Zhao, Fuping (Institute of Animal Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences) ;
  • Zhu, Caiye (Institute of Animal Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences) ;
  • Li, Fadi (College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology, Lanzhou University) ;
  • Liu, Jidong (Institute of Grass Ecology Research, Hulunbuir College) ;
  • Zhang, Li (Institute of Animal Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences) ;
  • Wei, Caihong (Institute of Animal Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences) ;
  • Du, Lixin (College of Animal Science and Technology, Gansu Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2015.05.30
  • Accepted : 2015.08.12
  • Published : 2016.05.01


China has a long history of sheep (Ovis aries [O. aries]) breeding and an abundance of sheep genetic resources. Knowledge of the complete O. aries mitogenome should facilitate the study of the evolutionary history of the species. Therefore, the complete mitogenome of O. aries was sequenced and annotated. In order to characterize the mitogenomes of 3 Chinese sheep breeds (Altay sheep [AL], Shandong large-tailed sheep [SD], and small-tailed Hulun Buir sheep [sHL]), 19 sets of primers were employed to amplify contiguous, overlapping segments of the complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence of each breed. The sizes of the complete mitochondrial genomes of the sHL, AL, and SD breeds were 16,617 bp, 16,613 bp, and 16,613 bp, respectively. The mitochondrial genomes were deposited in the GenBank database with accession numbers KP702285 (AL sheep), KP981378 (SD sheep), and KP981380 (sHL sheep) respectively. The organization of the 3 analyzed sheep mitochondrial genomes was similar, with each consisting of 22 tRNA genes, 2 rRNA genes (12S rRNA and 16S rRNA), 13 protein-coding genes, and 1 control region (D-loop). The NADH dehydrogenase subunit 6 (ND6) and 8 tRNA genes were encoded on the light strand, whereas the rest of the mitochondrial genes were encoded on the heavy strand. The nucleotide skewness of the coding strands of the 3 analyzed mitogenomes was biased toward A and T. We constructed a phylogenetic tree using the complete mitogenomes of each type of sheep to allow us to understand the genetic relationships between Chinese breeds of O. aries and those developed and utilized in other countries. Our findings provide important information regarding the O. aries mitogenome and the evolutionary history of O. aries inside and outside China. In addition, our results provide a foundation for further exploration of the taxonomic status of O. aries.


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