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Mol Biol Evol. 1994 Jul;11(4):656-65.

Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation in the spruce budworm species complex (Choristoneura: Lepidoptera).

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Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


A combination of polymerase-chain-reaction amplification and automated DNA sequencing was used to survey variation in a species complex of pest insects, the spruce budworms (Choristoneura fumiferana species group), and an outgroup species, C. rosaceana. We sequenced an mtDNA region of 1,573 bp that extends from the middle of cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) through tRNA leucine (UUR) to the end of cytochrome oxidase subunit II. In addition, we examined levels of intraspecific variation within a 470-bp region of the COI gene. Choristoneura fumiferana clearly represented the oldest lineage within its species group, with 2.7%-2.9% sequence divergence from the other species. In contrast, the four remaining species (C. pinus, C. biennis, C. occidentalis, and C. orae) had closely related or identical mtDNA, with < 1% divergence among most of their haplotypes. Despite its older lineage and widespread geographic distribution, C. fumiferana showed significantly lower intraspecific genetic diversity than did C. occidentalis. Choristoneura orae shared haplotypes with C. occidentalis and C. biennis, and species-level separation of these three species was not supported. Two divergent, uncommon haplotypes were also found in C. occidentalis and C. biennis. The divergent haplotype in C. biennis had an unusually high number of inferred amino acid replacements, suggesting selective differences between mitochondrial DNA haplotypes. Transition:transversion ratios in Choristoneura paralleled those found in Drosophila; transition:transversion ratios were highest in closely related sequences but decreased with increasing sequence divergence. Nucleotide composition showed an A+T bias that was near the high end of the range known for insects. This work illustrates the potential utility of direct DNA sequencing in assessing population structures, species limits, and phylogenetic relationships among organisms that have not previously been subjected to DNA analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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