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Biochem Genet. 2002 Apr;40(3-4):101-16.

Evolutionary relationships of flying foxes (genus Pteropus) in the Philippines inferred from DNA sequences of cytochrome b gene.

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Laboratory of Animal Genetics, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Chikusa, Japan.


Six flying fox species, genus Pteropus (four from the Philippines) were investigated using complete cytochrome b gene sequences (1140 bp) to infer their evolutionary relationships. The DNA sequences generated via polymerase chain reaction were analyzed using the neighbor-joining, parsimony, and maximum likelihood methods. We estimated that the first evolutionary event among these Pteropus species occurred approximately 13.90 +/- 1.49 MYA. Within this short period of evolutionary time we further hypothesized that the ancestors of the flying foxes found in the Philippines experienced a subsequent diversification forming two clusters in the topology. The first cluster is composed of P. pumilus (Philippine endemic), P. speciosus (restricted in western Mindanao) with P. scapulatus, while the second one comprised P. vampyrus and P. dasymallus species based on the analysis from first and second codon positions. Consistently, all phylogenetic analyses divulged close association of P. dasymallus with P. vampyrus contradicting the previous report categorizing P. dasymallus under subniger species group with P. pumilus. P. speciosus, and P. hypomelanus. The Philippine endemic species (P. pumilus) is closely linked with P. speciosus. The representative samples of P. vampyrus showed a large genetic distance of 1.87%. The large genetic distance between P. dasymallus and P. hypomelanus, P. pumilus and P. speciosus denotes a distinct species group.

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