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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2002 Dec;25(3):524-34.

Phylogeography of chamois (Rupicapra spp.) inferred from microsatellites.

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Departamento de Biologi;a Funcional, Area de Genética, Universidad de Oviedo, Spain.


Evolutionary relationships among populations of chamois (Rupicapra spp.) across their current range from the Caucasus to the Cantabrian Mountains were investigated. The allelic variation in 23 microsatellite loci was assessed in eight geographical populations, recognised as subspecies of the two closely related species R. pyrenaica and R. rupicapra. Analysis of variance in allele frequencies (Fst, statistics) and in repeat numbers (Rst, statistics) showed these data to be highly structured. Two genetic distances between pairs of populations, Ds and (deltamu)(2), were computed and phylogenetic trees were constructed. Similar patterns were produced by the different statistics. All trees indicate a deep divergence between the two recognised species, which is compatible with archaeological data that place their split in the Riss-Würm interglacial period. Genetic distances between pairs of populations are highly correlated with geographical distance. This suggests that the history of the genus during Pleistocene glacial-interglacial periods was dominated by expansions and contractions within limited geographic regions, leading to alternate contact and isolation of contiguous populations. In addition, the alpine barrier has played a substantial role in West-East differentiation.

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