26.5 Monday, Jan. 5 Mitochondrial genome evolution of Amphinomidae (Annelida: Amphinomida) BORDA, E*; HALANYCH, KM; Auburn University; Auburn University email@example.com
The sequencing of complete mitochondrial (mt) genomes is becoming easier and the availability of these data continues to play important roles for the inferring evolutionary histories of diverse animal groups. This is particular the case for poorly understood invertebrate phyla, such as Annelida. Previous work on annelid mt genomes has examined gene order, base content, codon bias and base skewness; however, to date no study has assessed mt evolutionary rates in annelids. In this study we examine the evolutionary rates across annelid mt genomes and include new mt genome sequences from another annelid lineage belonging to the marine Amphinomidae, better known as fireworms. Fireworms are typically coral dwelling species and best known for the lingering "fiery" stinging sensation and inflammation caused by urticating chaetae that easily penetrate the skin. Although gene order has previously been reported to be conservative across most published annelid mt genomes, amphinomids appear to deviate from this trend. In addition to gene order, the rates of evolution of mt genes are examined in order to identify alternate mt markers and infer the phylogenetic efficacy of mt genes for reconstructing evolutionary history by utilizing Amphinomidae as a model - a group lacking an inclusive phylogenetic hypothesis. This work complements the ongoing effort to increase annelid (and lophotrochozoan) representation of mt genomes, while highlighting the need for mt gene exploration and assessment of relative rates within Annelida.