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Mol Ecol. 2001 Dec;10(12):2833-47.

Extensive trans-species mitochondrial polymorphisms in the carabid beetles Carabus subgenus Ohomopterus caused by repeated introgressive hybridization.

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Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Kyoto University, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.


To study the potential importance of introgressive hybridization to the evolutionary diversification of a carabid beetle lineage, we studied intraspecific and trans-species polymorphisms in the mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 (ND5) gene sequence (1083 bp) in four species of the subgenus Ohomopterus (genus Carabus) in central and eastern Honshu, Japan. Of the four species, C. insulicola is parapatric with the other three, and can hybridize naturally with at least two. This species possesses two haplotypes of remote lineages. We classified ND5 haplotypes using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism with TaqI endonuclease for 524 specimens, and sequenced 143 samples. Analysis revealed that each species was polyphyletic in its mitochondrial DNA phylogeny, representing a marked case of trans-species polymorphism. Recent one-way introgression of mitochondria from C. arrowianus nakamurai to C. insulicola, and from C. insulicola to C. esakii, was inferred from the frequency of identical sequences between these species and from direct evidence of hybridization in their contact zones. Other intraspecific polymorphisms in the four species may be due to undetected introgressive hybridization (e.g. C. insulicola to C. maiyasanus) or from stochastic lineage sorting of ancestral polymorphisms. This beetle group has a genital lock-and-key system, with species-specific or subspecies-specific genital morphology that may act as a barrier to hybridization. However, our results demonstrate that introgressive hybridization has occurred multiple times, at least for mitochondria, despite differences among, and stability within, morphological characters that distinguish local populations. Thus, hybridization and introgression could have been key processes in the evolutionary diversification of Ohomopterus.

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