Zokors (Myospalacinae) is a group of rodents specialized for underground life, endemics of eastern Asia, which is taxonomically and evolutionarily poorly studied. We examined genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationships among zokors (Myospalax myospalax, Myospalax aspalax, Myospalax armandii, Myospalax psilurus, Myospalax smithii) using RAPD-PCR. The subfamily Myospalacinae was shown to be monophyletic and contain four evolutionary branches: M. myospalax, M. aspalax-M. armandii, M. smithii and M. psilurus. Genetic differences and high differentiation were found among the species and between two geographic forms of Manchurian zokor M. psilurus from the marginal parts of the range, Transbaikalia and Primorye. The psiluris phylogroup was shown to be dichotomically divided into two clades according to the geographical distribution of animals from Transbaikalia and Primorye. The genetic differentiation between the geographic forms of M. psilurus corresponded to the differentiation between morphologically similar species M. aspalax and M. armandii. M. armandii is a sister taxon with regard to M. aspalax. This new evidence on the evolutionary relationships among zokors does not contradict the traditional views inferred from morphological, karyological, and allozyme data, on apartness of M. myospalax and the character of evolution in this group. The species status of Myospalax psilurus Milne-Edwards, 1874, M. epsilanus Thomas, 1912, and M. armandii Milne-Edwards, 1867, which had been suggested earlier on the basis of biochemical and karyological data, was confirmed.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 22, 2011
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