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Genome. 2006 Oct;49(10):1297-307.

Molecular evolution of satellite DNA repeats and speciation of lizards of the genus Darevskia (Sauria: Lacertidae).

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  • 1Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119991, Vavilov st, 32, Russia. grechko@eimb.ru

Abstract

Satellite DNA repeats were studied in Caucasian populations of 18 rock lizard species of the genus Darevskia. Four subfamilies (Caucasian Lacerta satellites (CLsat)I-IV) were identified, which shared 70%-75% sequence similarity. The distribution of CLsat subfamilies among the species was studied. All the species could be divided into at least 3 clades, depending on the content of CLsat subfamilies in each genome: "saxicola", "rudis", and "mixta" lizards. CLsatI was found in all studied species, but in very different quantities; the "saxicola" group contained this subfamily predominantly. The "rudis" group also contained CLsatIII, and the "mixta" group carried considerable amounts of CLsatII. The highest concentrations of CLsatI and CLsatII were detected in 2 ground lizards--D. derjugini and D. praticola, respectively. D. parvula predominantly carried CLsatIII. CLsatIV was found only in the Crimean species D. lindholmi. The distribution patterns of satellite subfamilies show possible postglacial speciation within the genus Darevskia. A hybrid origin of species that possess 2 or 3 CLsat subfamilies and important clarifications to the systematics of the genus are proposed.

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