Totally, 294 bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) and 18 red-backed voles (Cl. rutilus) from 62 sites of European Russia were studied. Incomplete sequences (967 bp) of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene were determined for 93 Cl. glareolus individuals from 56 sites and 18 Cl. rutilus individuals from the same habitats. Analysis of the cytochrome b gene variation has demonstrated that practically the entire European part of Russia, Ural, and a considerable part of Western Europe are inhabited by bank voles of the same phylogroup, displaying an extremely low genetic differentiation. Our data suggest that Cl. glareolus very rapidly colonized over the presently occupied territory in the post-Pleistocene period from no more than two (central European and western European) refugia from ancestral populations with a small effective size. PCR typing of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene allowed us to assess the scale of mtDNA introgression from a closely related species, Cl. rutilus, and to outline the geographical zone of this introgression. Comparison with the red-backed vole haplotypes in the habitats shared by both species favors the hypothesis of an ancient hybridization event (mid-Holocene) and a subsequent introgression. These results suggest that the hybridization took place in the southern and middle Pre-Ural region.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: May 17, 2009
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