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Mol Ecol. 2011 Nov;20(22):4592-605. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05295.x. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Genetic variation over 10,000 years in Ctenomys: comparative phylochronology provides a temporal perspective on rarity, environmental change and demography.

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Department of Biology, 371 Serra Mall, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020, USA.


An understanding of how ecological traits influence past species response to environmental change can aid our future predictions of species persistence. We used ancient DNA and serial coalescent modelling in a hypothesis-testing framework to reveal differences in temporal genetic variation over 10,000 years for two species of subterranean rodents that currently differ in rarity (abundance, range size and habitat specificity) and mating system, but that reside in the same volcanically active region. Comparative phylochronologic analyses indicated little genetic change and suggest genetic stability in the solitary widespread Ctenomys haigi over thousands of years. In contrast, we found a pattern of haplotypic turnover in the rare and currently endangered Ctenomys sociabilis. Serial coalescent modelling indicated that the best-fit models of microevolutionary change included gene flow between isolated populations for this species. Although C. haigi and C. sociabilis are congeners that share many life history traits, they have behavioural, habitat-preference and population-size differences that may have resulted in contrasting patterns of temporal variation during periods of environmental change.

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