ISSN 10227954, Russian Journal of Genetics, 2015, Vol. 51, No. 11, pp. 1113–1118. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2015.
Original Russian Text © B.A. Malyarchuk, M.V. Derenko, G.A. Denisova, 2015, published in Genetika, 2015, Vol. 51, No. 11, pp. 1291–1296.
The pattern of phylogeographic differentiation, as
well as the genetic diversity level of the species that
inhabit the northern hemisphere, is largely dependent
on the history of the Quaternary glaciations [1–4].
Repeated periods of glaciation resulted in the forma
tion of species that are well adapted to a cold habitat;
they make up the modern fauna of the high latitudes.
One such species is the wolverine (
), a repre
sentative of the mustelid family (Mustelidae Fisher,
1817). The wolverine is currently found throughout
the taiga, forest tundra, and to some extent in the tun
dra zone of Eurasia and North America.
Modern paleontological data suggests that the ori
gin of the wolverine was associated with Arctic ecosys
The earliest fossil records of the genus
rently known from the Pliocene of Northern Siberia.
 It was demonstrated that the Arctic wolverine
, the remains of which were found in Yakutia,
can be considered the ancestral form for all Eurasian
wolverines [5, 6]. On the territory of Northern Siberia,
all known stages of the genus
presently be traced:
(the end of Early–the beginning of Middle Pleis
(Late Pleistocene), and
(Modern Age) . The presently available paleontho
logical data suggest that the Subarctic is the place of
origin of the genus.
At the same time, the results of molecular phyloge
netic studies made it possible to dispute the generic
and showed that, despite the morpho
logical data, the species
, along with the subgen
, was a member of the genus
[8–12]. There are few studies in the field of
molecular phylogeography of
, and almost all of
them are devoted to the analysis of the genetic varia
tion in the populations of North America [13–17].
The studies on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) poly
morphism carried out so far are based mainly on the
analysis of a portion of the major noncoding region
(control region) and the cytochrome
gene in North
American wolverine populations, while only some
individual wolverines were examined in Eurasia.
Sequences of full mitochondrial genomes of two wol
verine individuals from Scandinavia have been
reported [18, 19].
In the present study, nucleotide sequences were
obtained for an extended mitochondrial genome
region (11473 base pairs (bp) in size) of wolverine from
Northeast Asia, the opposite range with respect to the
Nordic part of Eurasian species. These data made it
possible for the first time to conduct molecular dating
of intraspecific differentiation and to determine the
approximate age of the
ancestor. Based on the
value of the mtDNA mutation rate obtained in this
study, a chronological analysis was conducted on the
phylogeny obtained from data on the variability of the
gene of wolverines from
different parts of the range of this species.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The examined wolverine (
) muscle specimen
was obtained from the population of Magadan oblast
(Khasynsky raion). Genomic DNA was extracted by
standard techniques, which included cell lysis with
proteinase K (Sigma, United States) in the presence of
1% sodium dodecyl sulfate, DNA purification with a
Mitochondrial Genome Variability in the Wolverine (
B. A. Malyarchuk, M. V. Derenko, and G. A. Denisova
Institute of the Biological Problems of the North, Far Eastern Branch
of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Magadan, 685000 Russia
Received January 26, 2015; in final form, February 25, 2015
—The nucleotide sequence of an extended mitochondrial genome segment (11473 base pairs in size)
was determined in the wolverine (
) from Magadan oblast. Phylogenetic and statistical analyses of
mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences of mustelids showed that the separation of the
branch occurred at the Miocene–early Pliocene (about 5.6 million years ago (MYA)), while the formation of
took place in the Middle Pleistocene (181 and 234 thousand years ago (KYA), according to
the results of molecular dating based on the variability of the extended mtDNA segment and the mitochondrial
gene, respectively). The molecular data were in agreement with the fossil records for wolverines.
mitochondrial DNA, Wolverine, genetic polymorphism