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Mol Ecol. 2000 Jun;9(6):771-81.

Genetic subdivision, glacial refugia and postglacial recolonization in the golden-striped salamander, Chioglossa lusitanica (Amphibia: urodela).

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Departamento de Zoologia e Antropologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, Praça Gomes Teixeira, 4050 Porto, Portugal.


The golden-striped salamander (Chioglossa lusitanica) is an ecologically specialized species, endemic to north-western Iberia. Patterns of genetic variation were assessed at seven polymorphic enzyme loci and one mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) marker (cytochrome b) in 17 populations across its range. Estimates of enzyme genetic diversity revealed a high degree of genetic subdivision (FST = 0.68), mainly attributable to the existence of two groups of populations. The groups were located, respectively, north and south of the Mondego River, indicating that this river coincided with a major historical barrier to gene flow. A significant decrease in genetic variability from the Mondego northwards was associated with the Douro and Minho rivers. mtDNA sequence variation revealed a congruent pattern of two haplotype groups (d = 2.2%), with a geographical distribution resembling that of allozymes. The pattern and depth of genetic variation is consistent with the following hypotheses: (i) subdivision of an ancestral range of the species prior to the middle Pleistocene; (ii) secondary contact between populations representing historical refugia; (iii) relatively recent range expansion giving rise to the northern part of the species range; and (iv) loss of genetic variation through founder effects during range expansion across major rivers.

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