We analyzed our results and literature evidence on variability of nuclear protein genes in 39 populations of eight commensal and wild species of house mice (superspecies complexesMus musculus and M. spicilegus) from Transcaucasia, Eastern and Western Europe, Near and Middle East, Central, South, and East Asia, and Cuba. These data were for the first time ever combined into a single database by unification of nomenclature of 21 loci examined by different authors in 39 populations. Analysis of geographical allele distribution have shown that populations of domestic Transcaucasian mice are close to Indo-Pakistani populations of form oriental of the species M. castaneus, which preserved a high level of ancestral polymorphism. We concluded that a very heterogeneous, rich gene pool of house mice from Transcaucasia could not develop only by secondary contacts of differentiated M. musculus s. str. and M. domesticus forms, since it is similar to the ancestral gene pool of the superspecies complexes M. musculus and M. spicilegus. In this context, unique characteristics of some Central Asian populations were examined; these populations may have served as a “transit station” in the dispersal of commensal house mice forms. We suggest that the Transcaucasian populations are genealogically closely related to an early Near East form of M. musculus, which, as M. domesticus and M. castaneus, split from the common ancestor and preserved nondifferentiated pool of ancestral alleles of protein genes. This hypothesis admits the involvement of differentiated species M. musculus s. str. and M. domesticus in the ultimate formation of the gene pool of Transcaucasian house mice. Apparently, these populations resulted from alternation and (or) “overlapping” of different evolutionary processes. A scenario suggesting that hybrid events having occurred in Transcaucasia at different times, were “superposed” on the gene pool of the ancient autochtonous population of house mice from this region seems most plausible. Analysis of allozyme variability in the modern Transcaucasian Mus populations could not always distinguish between ancestral polymorphism and hybridization consequences.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 28, 2004
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