Comparative study of the phylogenetic structure in six Apodemus species (Mammalia, Rodentia) inferred from ISSR-PCR data
Giagia-Athanasopoulou, Eva B
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The utility of the Inter Simple Sequence Repeat-Polymerase Chain Reaction (ISSR-PCR) was explored in order to determine genetic variation in six species of the genus Apodemus (A. flavicollis, A. sylvaticus, A. uralensis, A. agrarius, A. mystacinus and A. epimelas) at the individual level, population level, in separate geographic samples and in the species as a whole. Six optimized primers produced highly reproducible and polymorphic DNA markers with 98.3% polymorphic bands on a total sample of 91 individuals from 32 localities in Europe and Asia. Moreover, each primer allowed for an exact diagnosis of each of the six Apodemus species and thus provides a simple and reliable tool for the hitherto problematic discrimination of species from the subgenus Sylvaemus. Genetic distances between species ranged from 0.079, among the closely related A. flavicollis and A. sylvaticus, to 0.203 between A. mystacinus and A. agrarius. A. flavicollis, A. uralensis and A. sylvaticus display a strong population substructure. The range of genetic distances among geographic samples within last two species reaches the values obtained for closely related species. ISSR markers proved to be a simple and reliable tool for species diagnosis, as well as for estimating genetic diversity below the species level and for closely related species, but they showed questionable reliability for larger genetic distances.