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Studies of mitochondrial DNA, allozyme and morphometric variation in a house mouse hybrid zone.

Hauffe HC, et al. Genet Res. 2002.


An unusual chromosomal hybrid zone of the house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus, exists in Upper Valtellina, Northern Italy, consisting of four Robertsonian (Rb) races and the standard (all-acrocentric, or 2n = 40) race, all hybridizing freely within 10 km2. The hybrid zone in Valtellina provides an excellent opportunity to study the role of Rb fusions in reproductive isolation and speciation. This hybrid zone has already been well studied for the distribution of Rb fusions and the fertility of hybrids, but in order to understand the dynamics of the zone, a basic understanding of the origin and genetic similarity of the chromosomal races is necessary. This paper presents the results of three different methods of measuring genetic differentiation: multivariate analysis of morphological traits and analyses of allozyme variation and mitochondrial DNA sequences. The standard race is clearly distinguishable from the three Rb races by all three methods, but the Rb races are not distinguishable from one another. This provides strong evidence for our previous suggestions that the well-established Rb races in Valtellina are closely related, and that the standard race was introduced into the valley more recently from a distant source. The fact that the Rb races are indistinguishable is also consistent with our hypothesis that a within-village speciation event involving two of the races (Hauffe & Searle, 1992) was a recent occurrence. The low level of allozyme heterozygosity among the Rb races suggests that these populations are the products of at least one bottleneck. The present article substantially extends earlier studies and provides the first detailed morphological and molecular analysis of this complex hybrid zone.


12534215 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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