Multiplex sequencing of pooled mitochondrial genomes - A crucial step toward biodiversity analysis using mito-metagenomics

Min Tang, Meihua Tan, Guanliang Meng, Shenzhou Yang, Xu Su, Shanlin Liu, Wenhui Song, Yiyuan Li, Qiong Wu, Aibing Zhang, Xin Zhou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

228 Citations (Scopus)


The advent in high-throughput-sequencing (HTS) technologies has revolutionized conventional biodiversity research by enabling parallel capture of DNA sequences possessing species-level diagnosis. However, polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based implementation is biased by the efficiency of primer binding across lineages of organisms. A PCR-free HTS approach will alleviate this artefact and significantly improve upon the multi-locus method utilizing full mitogenomes. Here we developed a novel multiplex sequencing and assembly pipeline allowing for simultaneous acquisition of full mitogenomes from pooled animals without DNA enrichment or amplification. By concatenating assemblies from three de novo assemblers, we obtained high-quality mitogenomes for all 49 pooled taxa, with 36 species >15 kb and the remaining >10 kb, including 20 complete mitogenomes and nearly all protein coding genes (99.6%). The assembly quality was carefully validated with Sanger sequences, reference genomes and conservativeness of protein coding genes across taxa. The new method was effective even for closely related taxa, e.g. three Drosophila spp., demonstrating its broad utility for biodiversity research and mito-phylogenomics. Finally, the in silicosimulation showed that by recruiting multiple mito-loci, taxon detection was improved at a fixed sequencing depth. Combined, these results demonstrate the plausibility of a multi-locus mito-metagenomics approach as the next phase of the current single-locus metabarcoding method.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere166
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


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