Using the data on complete sequences of cytochrome b gene, phylogenetic relationships were studied among the Stenocephalemys s. lat. (Stenocephalemys spp. + Praomys albipes) murine rodents, inhabiting adjacent altitudinal belts of the isolated Ethiopian mountain massifs, and among the related Praomys s. lat. species. Extremely low resolution of the relationships among the main Praomys s. lat. lineages hampered identification of the nearest sister group for the Stenocephalemys s. lat. “Ethiopian” clade, monophyly of which was strongly supported. Sister relationships between P. albipes and S. griseicauda (implying “accelerated” morphological and chromosomal evolution upon the formation of the former species), as well as between S. albocaudata and the recently described novel chromosomal form of Stenocephalemus sp. A (2n = 50; NFa = 56) were demonstrated. Definite discordance between the rates of their molecular, chromosomal, and morphological evolution was revealed. Based on phylogenetic reconstructions and the estimates of the divergence time, obtained by use of molecular clock method, an attempt to draw an evolutionary scenario for the group examined was made. The obtained data were compared to those for Sigmodontinae species complexes, distributed across a marked altitudinal gradient on the Andean slopes. It was shown that molecular genetic data on the rodents from mountain tropics did not support the gradient model of diversification, based on the possibility of diversification of the forms up to their achievement of the species rank (without interruption of the gene flow between them) due to differently directed selection across a strong environmental gradient.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 19, 2006
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