The Complete Sequence of the Mitochondrial Genome of the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus)

Christiaan Labuschagne, Antoinette Kotze, J. Paul Grobler, Desire Dalton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The complete mitochondrial genome of the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) was sequenced. The molecule
was sequenced via next generation sequencing and primer walking. The size of the genome is 17,346bp in length.
Comparison with the mitochondrial DNA of two other penguin genomes that have so far been reported was
conducted namely; Little blue penguin (Eudyptula minor) and the Rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome).
This analysis made it possible to identify common penguin mitochondrial DNA characteristics. The S. demersus
mtDNA genome is very similar, both in composition and length to both the E. chrysocome and E. minor genomes.
The gene content of the African penguin mitochondrial genome is typical of vertebrates and all three penguin
species have the standard gene order originally identified in the chicken. The control region for S. demersus is
located between tRNA-Glu and tRNA-Phe and all three species of penguins contain two sets of similar repeats
with varying copy numbers towards the 3′ end of the control region, accounting for the size variance. This is
the first report of the complete nucleotide sequence for the mitochondrial genome of the African penguin, S.
demersus. These results can be subsequently used to provide information for penguin phylogenetic studies and
insights into the evolution of genomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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