Thrice better than once: quality control guidelines to validate new mitogenomes Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Mitogenomic data are increasingly used in evolutionary biology and ecology, stressing the importance for double checking the authenticity of DNA sequences. For example, Szcześniak et al. (2013) recently published the mitochondrial genome of a bat, the Leschenault's rousette (Rousettus leschenaultii). Here we show using straightforward phylogenetic analyses of available chiropteran sequence data that the taxonomic attribution of the reported mitogenome is erroneous. The purportedly-new complete mitochondrial genome likely belongs to the Egyptian fruit bat (R. aegyptiacus) for which a reference sequence already exists. We propose that future articles reporting complete mitochondrial genome sequences should mandatorily include maximum likelihood trees inferred from (i) the standard barcoding marker for the taxon under focus, which would benefit from the massive data available in public databases, and (ii) the available mitogenomes of closely related species. We also strongly advise these trees be presented as phylograms so that all pertinent phylogenetic information is displayed in the form of a topology and its associated branch lengths. Along with compulsory information on the geographical location and origin of the specimen, these new standards should help avoiding the publication of taxonomically misidentified mitogenomes that might end up as reference sequences in public databases and re-used in subsequent meta-analyses.


  • Poinar, Hendrik
  • Botero-Castro, Fidel
  • Delsuc, Frédéric
  • Douzery, Emmanuel JP

publication date

  • January 2, 2016