Complete DNA sequence and gene organization of the mitochondrial genome of the liverfluke, Fasciola hepatica L. (Platyhelminthes; Trematoda)

T. H.  LE  a1, D.  BLAIR  a2 c1 and D. P.  McMANUS  a1
a1 Molecular Parasitology Laboratory, Australian Centre for International and Tropical Health and Nutrition, The Queensland Institute of Medical Research and the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4029, Australia
a2 School of Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia

Article author query
le t   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
blair d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
mcmanus d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The complete nucleotide sequence of the mitochondrial (mt) DNA molecule of the liverfluke, Fasciola hepatica (phylum Platyhelminthes, class Trematoda, family Fasciolidae), was determined. It comprises 14462 bp, contains 12 protein-encoding, 2 ribosomal and 22 transfer RNA genes, and is the second complete flatworm (and the first trematode) mitochondrial sequence to be described in detail. All of the genes are transcribed from the same strand. Of the genes typically found in mitochondrial genomes of eumetazoans, only atp8 is absent. The nad4L and nad4 genes overlap by 40 nt. Most intergenic sequences are very short. Two larger non-coding regions are present. The longer one (817 nt) is located between trnG and cox3 and consists of 8 identical tandem repeats of 85 nt, rich in G and C, followed by 1 imperfect repeat. The shorter non-coding region (187 nt) exhibits no special features and is separated from the longer region by trnG. The gene arrangement resembles that of some other trematodes including the eastern Asian Schistosoma species (and cyclophyllidean cestode species) but it is strikingly different from that of the African schistosomes, represented by Schistosoma mansoni. The genetic code is as inferred previously for flatworms. Transfer RNA genes range in length from 58 to 70 nt, their products producing characteristic ‘clover leaf’ structures, except for tRNA(SUCN) and tRNA(SAGN) lacking the DHU arm.

(Received April 28 2001)
(Revised June 26 2001)
(Accepted June 26 2001)

Key Words: Fasciola hepatica; mitochondrial genome; mitochondrial genes; ribosomal RNA genes; transfer RNA genes.

c1 Corresponding author: School of Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia. Tel.: +61 7 4781 4322. Fax: +61 7 4725 1570. E-mail: