Myxozoans are a large group of poorly characterized cnidarian parasites. To gain further insight into their evolution, we sequenced the mitochondrial (mt) genome of Enteromyxum leei and reevaluate the mt genome structure of Kudoa iwatai. Although the typical animal mt genome is a compact, 13–25 kb, circular chromosome, the mt genome of E. leei was found to be fragmented into eight circular chromosomes of ~23 kb, making it the largest described animal mt genome. Each chromosome was found to harbor a large noncoding region (~15 kb), nearly identical between chromosomes. The protein coding genes show an unusually high rate of sequence evolution and possess little similarity to their cnidarian homologs. Only five protein coding genes could be identified and no tRNA genes. Surprisingly, the mt genome of K. iwatai was also found to be composed of two chromosomes. These observations confirm the remarkable plasticity of myxozoan mt genomes.
- gene conversion
- tRNA loss