The complete mitochondrial DNA sequence of the white rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum, and comparison with the mtDNA sequence of the Indian rhinoceros, Rhinoceros unicornis

Mol Phylogenet Evol. 1997 Apr;7(2):189-94. doi: 10.1006/mpev.1996.0385.


The complete nucleotide sequence of the mitochondrial genome of the white rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum, was determined. The length of the reported sequence is 16,832 nucleotides. This length can vary, however, due to pronounced heteroplasmy caused by differing numbers of a repetitive motif (5'-CG-CATATACA-3') in the control region. The 16,832 nucleotide sequence presented here is the longest version of the molecule and contains 35 copies of this motif. Comparison between the complete mitochondrial sequences of the white and the Indian (Rhinoceros unicornis) rhinoceroses allowed an estimate of the date of the basal evolutionary divergence among extant rhinoceroses. The calculation suggested that this divergence took place approximately 27 million years before present.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Perissodactyla / classification
  • Perissodactyla / genetics*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Species Specificity
  • Time Factors


  • DNA, Mitochondrial

Associated data

  • GENBANK/Y07726