The mountain chicken frog (Leptodactylus fallax) is a critically endangered amphibian, extant only on the Caribbean islands of Dominica and Montserrat. Following numerous pressures on its survival, including hunting, volcanic eruptions, and most notably the recent incursion of the fungal disease chytridiomycosis, the mountain chicken is thought to number fewer than 100 individuals in the wild.
Given the vulnerability of the remaining wild population, it is important to document genetic features of the species while we can. Genetic information is one important component of overall efforts to preserve a species. With increased knowledge of a species’ genetics, scientists can more fully assess the health and extinction risk of threatened populations, as well as setting more informed aims for future conservation.
In this study, we assembled the whole mitogenome of the mountain chicken frog using whole genome sequencing and de novo assembly. The circular genome is 18,669 bp long and contains 37 genes. A phylogenetic analysis reveals that L. fallax forms a clade with Leptodactylus melanonotus, highlighting the close relationship of Leptodactylus spp. relative to other species from the superfamily Hyloidea included in the analysis. The study contributes the first complete mitogenome for the genus Leptodactylus, and will hopefully enable more whole mitogenome assemblies for the mountain chicken and other Leptodactylus species in the future.
Nina White, SWBio DTP student
Paper: The complete mitogenome of the Mountain chicken frog, Leptodactylus fallax by Nina F. D. White, Andrew A. Cunningham, Michael A. Hudson and Pablo Orozco-terWengel in Mitochondrial DNA Part B.