2003 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 67-72
We examined intraspecific genetic variation in the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (1140 bp) in the Okinawa mouse, Mus caroli (Rodentia, Muridae), from Okinawa, Taiwan, Hainan, Yunnan (southern China), Thailand, Vietnam and Java, to better understand their evolutionary history and human impact on dispersal and colonization by the mice. Populations from each of the seven localities had distinctive mitochondrial DNA sequences. The genetic distances, ranging from 0.015 to 0.045 (0.033 on average), were comparable with inter-subspecies differences in the house mouse Mus musculus (0.024). Assuming that nucleotide substitutions occur at a constant rate of 0.024/million years/lineage for mitochondrial DNA, the divergence of in M. caroli is estimated to have occurred 0.3-0.9 million years ago. The relatively great extent of intraspecific mitochondrial DNA variation in this taxon, and the spatial mode of variation suggest that M. caroli is genetically structured in space, to a considerable extent. Our data imply that local insular populations of M. caroli have been separated for long evolutionary periods, and that the scattered distribution patterns in the insular domains are due to historical shrinkage of appropriate areas of habitat, rather than to recent establishment of dispersed local populations by inadvertent human introductions.
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