The ranges of the great tit Parus major and the Japanese tit P. minor overlap in the middle Amur region, where hybridization of these two species occur. These species have contacted for nearly a century on the western slope of the Malyi Khingan Ridge (the central part of the sympatry zone), but the great tit has colonized territories to the east of the ridge only in the last two decades. The percentage of the P. minor’s allele of intron 2 of the mioglobin gene has significantly increased from 8.9% in the west to 27.8% in the east in phenotypically major’s populations. Thus, the percentage of foreign mtDNA in P. major populations did not change significantly from west (6.2%, n = 120) to east (3.2%, n = 61). Simultaneous use of two genetic markers (one nuclear and the other mitochondrial) supports our conclusion on strong introgression in the populations of both species, which nevertheless maintain their morphological specificity in the contact zone.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 23, 2009
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