Background: Complete mitochondrial (mt) genomes have been used extensively to test hypotheses about microevolution and to study population structure, phylogeography, and phylogenetic relationships of Anura at various taxonomic levels. Large-scale mt genomic reorganizations have been observed among many fork-tongued frogs (family Dicroglossidae). The relationships among Dicroglossidae and validation of the genus Feirana are still problematic. Hence, we sequenced the complete mt genomes of Nanorana taihangnica (=F. taihangnica) and N. yunnanensis as well as partial mt genomes of six Quasipaa species (dicroglossid taxa), two Odorrana and two Amolops species (Ranidae), and one Rhacophorus species (Rhacophoridae) in order to identify unknown mt gene rearrangements, to investigate the validity of the genus Feirana, and to test the phylogenetic relationship of Dicroglossidae. Results: In the mt genome of N. taihangnica two trnM genes, two trnP genes and two control regions were found. In addition, the trnA, trnN, trnC, and trnQ genes were translocated from their typical positions. In the mt genome of N. yunnanensis, three control regions were found and eight genes (ND6, trnP, trnQ, trnA, trnN, trnC, trnY and trnS genes) in the L-stand were translocated from their typical position and grouped together. We also found intraspecific rearrangement of the mitochondrial genomes in N. taihangnica and Quasipaa boulengeri. In phylogenetic trees, the genus Feirana nested deeply within the clade of genus Nanorana, indicating that the genus Feirana may be a synonym to Nanorana. Ranidae as a sister clade to Dicroglossidae and the clade of (Ranidae + Dicroglossidae) as a sister clade to (Mantellidae + Rhacophoridae) were well supported in BI analysis but low bootstrap in ML analysis. Conclusions: We found that the gene arrangements of N. taihangnica and N. yunnanensis differed from other published dicroglossid mt genomes. The gene arrangements in N. taihangnica and N. yunnanensis could be explained by the Tandem Duplication and Random Loss (TDRL) and the Dimer-Mitogenome and Non-Random Loss (DMNR) models, respectively. The invalidation of the genus Feirana is supported in this study.

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Keywords Dicroglossidae, Feirana, Gene rearrangement, Mitochondrial genome, Phylogeny
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Journal BMC Evolutionary Biology
Zhang, J.-Y. (Jia-Yong), Zhang, L.-P. (Le-Ping), Yu, D.-N. (Dan-Na), Storey, K, & Zheng, R.-Q. (Rong-Quan). (2018). Complete mitochondrial genomes of Nanorana taihangnica and N. yunnanensis (Anura: Dicroglossidae) with novel gene arrangements and phylogenetic relationship of Dicroglossidae. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 18(1). doi:10.1186/s12862-018-1140-2