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Two sympatric phylogroups of the Asian badger Meles leucurus (Carnivora: Mammalia) identified by mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b gene sequences
Koh H. S., Kryukov A., Oh J. G., Bayarkhagva D., Yang B. G., Ahn N. H., Bazarsad D.
P. 1-8
We obtained 20 complete cytochrome b sequences (1140 bp) of Meles leucurus from the Korean Peninsula (mainland Korea and Jeju Island), Russian Far East, and Mongolia, and these sequences were compared to complete and partial (629 bp) sequences of M. leucurus, obtained from GenBank, in order to reexamine genetic differentiation among M. leucurus from Korea, Siberian and Far-eastern Russia, Mongolia, and China. We detected that M. leucurus is composed of two sympatric phylogroups (a major phylogroup from the Urals, Siberia, Mongolia, China, and mainland Korea and a minor phylogroup from China, Far-eastern Russia, mainland Korea, and Jeju Island), indicating that M. leucurus is a monotypic species in the cytochrome b gene. Thus, we concluded that our sequencing results do not support current subspecies classification of M. leucurus, recognizing it as a polytypic species, although further genetic analyses with other markers are needed to confirm our present findings. We also considered that M. leucurus from China and Russian Far East is in contact with M. leucurus from mainland Korea and Jeju Island during the last glacial period, although in both Jeju and Russian Far East the specimens belonging to one of the two phylogroups are found at present. Additionally, we considered that the degree of genetic divergence between insular M. anakuma from Japan and continental M. leucurus from mainland Asia is not so great that our sequencing results do not support current species classification, recognizing M. leucurus as a distinct species: we proposed further systematic analyses to clarify the specific status of M. anakuma.

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