To better understand the architecture and evolution of the mitochondrial genome (mitogenome), mitogenomes of ten specimens representing six subfamilies in Tenebrionidae were selected, and comparative analysis of these mitogenomes was carried out in this study. Ten mitogenomes in this family share a similar gene composition, gene order, nucleotide composition, and codon usage. In addition, our results show that nucleotide bias was strongly influenced by the preference of codon usage for A/T rich codons which significantly correlated with the G + C content of protein coding genes (PCGs). Evolutionary rate analyses reveal that all PCGs have been subjected to a purifying selection, whereas 13 PCGs displayed different evolution rates, among which ATPase subunit 8 (ATP8
) showed the highest evolutionary rate. We inferred the secondary structure for all RNA genes of Tenebrio molitor
) and used this as the basis for comparison with the same genes from other Tenebrionidae mitogenomes. Some conserved helices (stems) and loops of RNA structures were found in different domains of ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) and the cloverleaf structure of transfer RNAs (tRNAs). With regard to the AT-rich region, we analyzed tandem repeat sequences located in this region and identified some essential elements including T stretches, the consensus motif at the flanking regions of T stretch, and the secondary structure formed by the motif at the 3′ end of T stretch in major strand, which are highly conserved in these species. Furthermore, phylogenetic analyses using mitogenomic data strongly support the relationships among six subfamilies: ((Tenebrionidae incertae sedis + (Diaperinae + Tenebrioninae)) + (Pimeliinae + Lagriinae)), which is consistent with phylogenetic results based on morphological traits.
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