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Title: Novel mitochondrial genome rearrangements including duplications and extensive heteroplasmy could underlie temperature adaptations in Antarctic notothenioid fishes

Mitochondrial genomes are known for their compact size and conserved gene order, however, recent studies employing long-read sequencing technologies have revealed the presence of atypical mitogenomes in some species. In this study, we assembled and annotated the mitogenomes of five Antarctic notothenioids, including four icefishes (Champsocephalus gunnari,C. esox,Chaenocephalus aceratus, andPseudochaenichthys georgianus) and the cold-specializedTrematomus borchgrevinki. Antarctic notothenioids are known to harbor some rearrangements in their mt genomes, however the extensive duplications in icefishes observed in our study have never been reported before. In the icefishes, we observed duplications of the protein coding geneND6, two transfer RNAs,and the control region with different copy number variants present within the same individuals and with someND6duplications appearing to follow the canonical Duplication-Degeneration-Complementation (DDC) model inC. esoxandC. gunnari. In addition, using long-read sequencing and k-mer analysis, we were able to detect extensive heteroplasmy inC. aceratusandC. esox. We also observed a large inversion in the mitogenome ofT. borchgrevinki, along with the presence of tandem repeats in its control region. This study is the first in using long-read sequencing to assemble and identify structural variants and heteroplasmy in notothenioid mitogenomes and signifies the importance of long-reads in resolving complex mitochondrial architectures. Identification of such wide-ranging structural variants in the mitogenomes of these fishes could provide insight into the genetic basis of the atypical icefish mitochondrial physiology and more generally may provide insights about their potential role in cold adaptation.

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Scientific Reports
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National Science Foundation
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