The complete nucleotide sequence of the mitochondrial genome of the domestic dog, Canis familiaris, was determined. The length of the sequence was 16,728 bp; however, the length was not absolute due to the variation (heteroplasmy) caused by differing numbers of the repetitive motif, 5'-GTACACGT(A/G)C-3', in the control region. The genome organization, gene contents, and codon usage conformed to those of other mammalian mitochondrial genomes. Although its features were unknown, the "CTAGA" duplication event which followed the translational stop codon of the COII gene was not observed in other mammalian mitochondrial genomes. In order to determine the possible differences between mtDNAs in carnivores, two rRNA and 13 protein-coding genes from the cat, dog, and seal were compared. The combined molecular differences, in two rRNA genes as well as in the inferred amino acid sequences of the mitochondrial 13 protein-coding genes, suggested that there is a closer relationship between the dog and the seal than there is between either of these species and the cat. Based on the molecular differences of the mtDNA, the evolutionary divergence between the cat, the dog, and the seal was dated to approximately 50 +/- 4 million years ago. The degree of difference between carnivore mtDNAs varied according to the individual protein-coding gene applied, showing that the evolutionary relationships of distantly related species should be presented in an extended study based on ample sequence data like complete mtDNA molecules.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.