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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2007 May;43(2):353-67. Epub 2007 Mar 12.

Multiple nuclear loci reveal patterns of incomplete lineage sorting and complex species history within western mouse lemurs (Microcebus).

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  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Mouse lemurs (genus Microcebus) are nocturnal primates endemic to the island of Madagascar. Until recently, they were classified as two species, one from eastern and one from western Madagascar. Previously published analyses of morphometric and mitochondrial DNA data show strong support for the recognition of more than eight species, however. Here, we test the eight-species hypothesis with DNA data derived from four independently segregating nuclear loci. We find many areas of congruence between the mitochondrial and nuclear data, but incomplete lineage sorting and low mutation rates limit the phylogenetic resolution of the nuclear data. Even so, the nuclear loci unanimously find evidence for three deeply diverged lineages within the mouse lemur radiation: one that is congruent with the mtDNA "southern clade", another that is congruent with the mtDNA "northern clade", and one monospecific branch comprised of the species Microcebus ravelobensis. The latter result in particular emphasizes the need for careful biological study of this species.

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