Architectural instability, inverted skews and mitochondrial phylogenomics of Isopoda: outgroup choice affects the long-branch attraction artefacts

R Soc Open Sci. 2020 Feb 5;7(2):191887. doi: 10.1098/rsos.191887. eCollection 2020 Feb.


The majority strand of mitochondrial genomes of crustaceans usually exhibits negative GC skews. Most isopods exhibit an inversed strand asymmetry, believed to be a consequence of an inversion of the replication origin (ROI). Recently, we proposed that an additional ROI event in the common ancestor of Cymothoidae and Corallanidae families resulted in a double-inverted skew (negative GC), and that taxa with homoplastic skews cluster together in phylogenetic analyses (long-branch attraction, LBA). Herein, we further explore these hypotheses, for which we sequenced the mitogenome of Asotana magnifica (Cymothoidae), and tested whether our conclusions were biased by poor taxon sampling and inclusion of outgroups. (1) The new mitogenome also exhibits a double-inverted skew, which supports the hypothesis of an additional ROI event in the common ancestor of Cymothoidae and Corallanidae families. (2) It exhibits a unique gene order, which corroborates that isopods possess exceptionally destabilized mitogenomic architecture. (3) Improved taxonomic sampling failed to resolve skew-driven phylogenetic artefacts. (4) The use of a single outgroup exacerbated the LBA, whereas both the use of a large number of outgroups and complete exclusion of outgroups ameliorated it.

Keywords: Cymothoida; GC skew; gene order; inversion; mitochondrial genome; origin of replication.

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4829937