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Zoolog Sci. 2003 Oct;20(10):1305-13.

Intra- and interspecific genetic complexities of two Eothenomys species in Honshu, Japan.

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Laboratory of Ecology and Genetics, Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.


Differences in the nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA), mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), cytochrome b (Cytb), and Y chromosomal Sry genes were used to assess intra- and interspecific relationships in two Japanese red-backed voles, Eothenomys andersoni and E. smithii, focusing on areas where the two species might come into contact. In the Kii Peninsula, southwestern Honshu, which contains an allopatric population of E. andersoni isolated from its main range, the rDNA-RFLP data provide robust evidence of past mutual interspecific gene introgression, while the Cytb and Sry sequences were specific to this population. In central Honshu, where E. andersoni and E. smithii inhabit higher and lower altitudes, respectively, with a narrow sympatric zone, the rDNA-RFLP and Sry variation was specific for each species, while introgression of the mtDNA from E. smithii to E. andersoni was seen. These complex patterns in the gene markers are consistent with our previous notions derived from sex chromosome variation. Our previous and present data strongly suggest that the evolution of these vole species, which are morphologically and cytogenetically distinct, involves complex genetic interactions and the resultant combinations of genes are sometimes peculiar, mainly due to the Cytb haplotypes. However, phylogenetic analysis using a combination of maternal, paternal, and biparental markers has proven useful for understanding the evolutionary history given the complex phylogenetic background.

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