The polymerase chain reaction with arbitrary primers (RAPD-PCR) was used to study intraspecific variation in Mediterranean turtle Testudo graeca, which is represented by the Dagestan (T. g. pallasi) and Nikolskii (T. g. nikolskii) subspecies in Russia. To study the phylogenetic relationships, the RAPD variation was also compared in two other T. graeca subspecies (T. g. ibera and T. g. terrestris), two closely related Testudo species (T. kleinmanni and T. marginata), and Central Asian turtle Agrionemys horsfieldii. Parameters of RAPD variation showed that the sample from different geographical regions of Dagestan was more polymorphic and heterogeneous than that from Central Asia. The two samples differed in the mean number of RAPD fragments N (48.76 vs. 40.40), number of polymorphic fragments P (78.7 vs. 32.3), and within-group similarity index APS (0.607 vs. 0.784). In T. g. pallasi, no significant difference in N, P, or APS was observed between samples from different localities of Dagestan or between groups of turtles with four- or five-clawed forelegs. A dendrogram of genetic similarity between the species and subspecies under study contained two clusters, one comprising all A. horsfieldii individuals and the other, all turtles of the genus Testudo. In the latter, T. marginata and T. kleinmanni showed higher similarity to each other than to T. graeca. The four T. graeca subspecies clustered separately from each other with a high reliability, T. g. nikolskii and T. g ibera (Turkey) being more similar to each other than to T. g. terrestris or T. g. pallasi. The possible causes of the presence of four claws on forelegs of turtles from Dagestan and the relationships among members of the genus Testudo were discussed.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 16, 2005
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