Characterization of complete mitochondrial genome of Dezhou donkey (Equus asinus) and evolutionary analysis

Curr Genet. 2016 May;62(2):383-90. doi: 10.1007/s00294-015-0531-9. Epub 2015 Nov 2.


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been widely used in species identification and genetic diversification. Comparisons among mtDNAs of closely related species are valuable for phylogenetic studies. However, only the partial mtDNA Cytb gene and the D-loop sequences were used to analysis the phylogenetic relationship between donkey breeds due to lack of complete mitochondrial genome. Dezhou donkey, as a bigger somatotype ass, is one of Chinese domestic donkey breeds, and used by many places as breeding stock. To further investigate the phylogenetic relationship of Dezhou donkey with other breeds, the complete mtDNA was firstly sequenced and de novo assembled using next generation sequence data from total genomic DNA. The genome was 16,813 bp in length (NCBI submission number: KT182635) and contained 13 protein coding genes, 2 ribosomal RNA genes, 25 transfer RNA genes, and 1 control region. Based on the novel complete mtDNA sequence, the sequences of 13 protein coding genes and 2 ribosomal RNA genes were amplifying in other 2 Dezhou donkeys and 3 Yunnan donkeys, respectively. The pattern of genetic variation in horse, wild ass and domestic donkeys among these 15 genes indicated the sequence polymorphisms. The more accurate phylogenetic relationships of donkey species (Dezhou donkey, Yunnan donkey and previously published donkeys) were first obtained using the combined sequences of 12S rRNA+16S rRNA+13 protein-coding genes. Molecular-based phylogeny supported the hypothesis that Chinese domestic donkey breeds may have originated from Somali wild ass, not from Asian wild ass by analyzing mitochondrial genomes.

Keywords: Annotation; Dezhou donkey; Mitochondrial genome; Phylogenetic analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Equidae / genetics*
  • Genome, Mitochondrial*
  • Phylogeny*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic


  • DNA, Mitochondrial