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Geographical pattern and historical demography of Midday gerbil Meriones meridianus (Gerbillidae, Rodentia) inferred from the sequences of the mitochondrial DNA control region
Zou G., Zhou L., Zha X., Zhang B., Zhao T., Liang J.
P. 25-32
In order to examine DNA sequence variation, the cause of geographic patterns and historical demography of populations, we sampled 69 individuals of Midday gerbil Meriones meridianus. Among the comparable sequences of 396 bp, 52 haplotypes were defined, 97 nucleotide sites were variable (24.5% in the full sequences). Phylogenetic tree constructed using the neighbor-joining (NJ) of haplotypes demonstrated three clades associated with geographical regions. There were no shared haplotypes found among regions. Time of gene divergence between three clades of Midday gerbil was estimated by mean nucleotide difference, suggesting the divergence of three clades during the Middle Pleistocene. The pattern of phylogenetic discontinuity is a result of both factors which is associated with the uplift of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and climate change in Quaternary ice ages. We also examined the historical demography of the clades using stepwise and exponential expansion models, both of which indicated recent rapid population growth. The pairwise mismatch distribution suggested a pattern of population expansion. The population expansion analysis indicated that the present distribution of the population was probably shaped through the rapid range expansion during the last interglaciation stage from the refugium.


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