Mitochondrial haplotype diversity in the tortoise species Testudo graeca from North Africa and the Middle EastReportar como inadecuado

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BMC Evolutionary Biology

, 5:29

First Online: 18 April 2005Received: 21 December 2004Accepted: 18 April 2005


BackgroundTo help conservation programs of the endangered spur-thighed tortoise and to gain better insight into its systematics, genetic variation and evolution in the tortoise species Testudo graeca Testudines: Testudinidae was investigated by sequence analysis of a 394-nucleotide fragment of the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene for 158 tortoise specimens belonging to the subspecies Testudo graeca graeca, Testudo graeca ibera, Testudo graeca terrestris, and a newly recognized subspecies Testudo graeca whitei. A 411-nucleotide fragment of the mitochondrial D-loop was additionally sequenced for a subset of 22 T. graeca, chosen because of their 12S gene haplotype and-or geographical origin.

ResultsHaplotype networks generated by maximum-likelihood and neighbor-joining analyses of both the separate and the combined sequence data sets suggested the existence of two main clades of Testudo graeca, comprising Testudo graeca from northern Africa and Testudo graeca from the Turkey and the Middle East, respectively.

ConclusionMitochondrial DNA haplotyping suggests that the tortoise subspecies of T. g. graeca and T. g. ibera are genetically distinct, with a calculated divergence time in the early or middle Pleistocene. Other proposed subspecies could not clearly be recognized based upon their mt haplotypes and phylogenetic position, and were either part of the T. g. graeca or of the T. g. ibera clade, suggesting that genetic evidence for the existence of most of the 15 proposed subspecies of T. graeca is weak.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2148-5-29 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Antoinette C van der Kuyl - Donato LP Ballasina - Fokla Zorgdrager


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