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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2001 Aug;20(2):286-93.

Phylogenetic analyses of two mitochondrial genes and one nuclear intron region illuminate European subterranean termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) gene flow, taxonomy, and introduction dynamics.

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Department of Entomology, Redding Building, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit, Research Station, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, Georgia, 30223-1797, USA.


Phylogenetic analyses of multiple DNA sequences were conducted to elucidate gene flow, evolutionary patterns, taxonomy, and the dynamics of two accidental introductions: Reticulitermes lucifugus grassei into Devon, United Kingdom and R. flavipes into Europe. Two mitochondrial DNA genes totaling 1495 bp and a 380-bp ribosomal intergenic transcribed spacer were sequenced. Neighbor-joining and parsimony analyses revealed that multiple female lineages of R. lucifugus grassei were introduced into Devon possibly from southwestern France, where the species was indigenous. The taxonomic status of the European R. santonensis as a species separate from the North American R. flavipes has been questioned since it was described in 1924. Phylogenetic analyses revealed a close genetic relationship between R. flavipes from the United States and R. santonensis from France. These analyses, coupled with morphological and chemotaxonomic data, provide strong support for R. santonensis and R. flavipes being the same species. They also suggested that R. santonensis infestations likely resulted from R. flavipes being introduced into Europe.

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