To specify the taxonomic rank of form ciscaucasicus (independent species Sylvaemus ciscaucasicus, or intraspecific form of pygmy wood mouse, S. uralensis), a 402-bp the mtDNA cytochrome b gene fragment (402 bp) was examined in ciscaucasicus individuals from six geographic localities of the Caucasus and Ciscaucasus (Krasnodar krai and Adygeya Republic) and 17 S. uralensis individuals from seven localities of the Russian Plain (Saratov oblast, Smolensk oblast, Voronezh oblast, Tula oblast, Moscow oblast, Tver’ oblast, and northern Krasnodar krai). For comparison, the cytochrome b gene was partly sequenced in the samples of yellow necked, S. flavicollis (n = 2, Samara oblast), and Caucasian, S. ponticus (n = 6, Krasnodar krai), wood mice. One Mus musculus specimen from Western Europe, whose nucleotide sequences were deposed in the GenBank, was used as intergeneric outgroup. Phylogenetic trees for the forms examined were constructed based on the mtDNA sequence variation and using the neighbor joining and maximum parsimony methods. The network of the cytochrome b haplotypes was also constructed. The level of genetic divergence was evaluated using Kimura’s two-parameter algorithm. Based on the data on the sequence variation in a 402-bp mtDNA cytochrome b gene fragment, the hypothesis on the species status of the ciscaucasicus form was. The mean intergroup distances (d) between the geographic groups of S. uralensis varied from 0.0036 to 0.0152. At the same time, the distances between the pygmy wood mice and the group of S. flavicollis-S. ponticus varies in the range from 0.0860 to 0.0935, and the level of intergeneric genetic differentiation (Sylvaemus-Mus) is higher than the latter index (d = 0.142). Ciscaucasicus should be considered as geographic substitution form of S. uralensis. Furthermore, the Caucasian populations of S. uralensis (= ciscaucasicus) were characterized by a threefold lower value of intergroup genetic divergence (d = 0.0062) than the East European populations (d = 0.0179). This finding pointed to some isolation of Caucasian populations of pygmy wood mouse and depletion of their gene pool. However other molecular genetic data (similarity of nucleotide composition and consistence of the levels of intra-and intergroup distances) suggest the absence of geographic subdivision between Caucasian and East European populations of S. uralensis relative to the molecular marker examined.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 17, 2007
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