Phylogenetic position of the presumably extinct slender-billed curlew, Numenius tenuirostris

The high-capacity DNA analysis of museum samples opens new opportunities, associated with the investigation of extinct species evolution. Here, the complete mitochondrial genome of the presumably extinct bird species, the slender-billed curlew Numenius tenuirostris (Charadriiformes: Scolopacidae) is presented. Our results showed that mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is 16,705 base pairs (bp) in length and contain 13 protein-coding genes, two rRNA genes, and 22 tRNA genes. The overall base composition of the genome is 30.8% – A, 29.8% – C, 25.4% – T, 14.0% – G, and without a significant GC bias of 43.7%. Phylogenetic analyses based on the cytochrome B (cytB) gene and the whole mtDNA sequences revealed that N. tenuirostris had a close genetic relationship to Eurasian curlew (N. arquata), Far Eastern curlew (N. madagascariensis), and long-billed curlew – N. americanus. Besides, it reveals that Numenius genus is genetically distant from other Scolopacidae taxons. Together, these results provide a clear genetic perspective into the speciation process among the curlew genus members and points to a clear taxonomic position of N. tenuirostris.