Mitochondrial DNA is transmitted maternally in metazoan species. This rule does not hold in several species of bivalves that have two mtDNA types, one that is transmitted maternally and the other paternally. This system of mitochondrial DNA transmission is known as doubly uniparental inheritance (DUI). Here we present evidence of DUI in the clam Donax trunculus making Donacidae the sixth bivalve family in which the phenomenon has been found. In addition, we present the taxonomic affiliation of all species in which DUI is currently known to occur and construct a phylogeny of the maternal and paternal genomes of these species. We use this information to address the question of a single or multiple origins of DUI and to discuss whether failed attempts to demonstrate the presence of DUI in several bivalve species might be due to problems of detection or to genuine absence of the phenomenon.
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Vol. 62 • No. 4