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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 1999 Dec;13(3):504-10.

Systematics of the genus Capra inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequence data.

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Laboratoire de Biologie des Populations d'Altitude, CNRS UMR 5553, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble Cedex 9, F-38041, France.


Traditional classification in the genus Capra is based mainly on horn morphology. However, previous investigations based on allozyme data are not consistent with this classification. We thus reexamined the evolutionary history of the genus by analyzing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence variation. We collected bone samples from museums or dead animals found in the field. Thirty-four individuals were successfully sequenced for a portion of the mtDNA cytochrome b gene and control region (500 bp in total). We obtained a star-like phylogeny supporting a rapid radiation of the genus. In accordance with traditional classification, mtDNA data support the presence of two clades in the Caucasus and the hypothesis of a domestication event in the Fertile Crescent. However, in conflict with morphology, we found that C. aegagrus and C. ibex are polyphyletic species, and we propose a new scenario for Capra immigration into Europe.

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