Preliminary genetic characterization of two lineages of black rats (Rattus rattus sensu lato) in Japan, with evidence for introgression at several localities
Genes & Genetic Systems
We conducted a pilot survey of genetic diversity among 37 karyotyped individuals of the black rat Rattus rattus (sensu lato) from six localities on the Japanese Islands, using complete gene sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b ) and nuclear interphotoreceptor retinoid binding protein (IRBP). Our sampling included two previously documented karyotypic groups: 'Oceanian' with 2n = 38 and 'Asian' with 2n = 42. Cyt b sequences for most individuals clustered according to their karyotypic
... ups, with an average between-group divergence of 3.8%. One exception was that individuals from Kagoshima (Kyushu Island) showed 'Asian' karyotypes combined with a cyt b haplotype that differed by a single nucleotide substitution from the haplotype of the 'Oceanian' karyotypic group. Six IRBP haplotypes were identified. They belonged to three distinct IRBP lineages (I-III), with an average inter-lineage divergence of 1%. Among homozygous individuals, these lineages showed good association with the karyotypic groups: IRBP lineage I occurred only with 'Oceanian' karyotypes, while IRBP lineages II and III both occurred with 'Asian' karyotypes. Individuals from Kagoshima all possessed IRBP of 'Asian' lineages, despite the presence of an 'Oceanian' mitochondrial type. The Chichijima population (Ogasawara Islands) featured exclusively 'Asian' karyotypes and cyt b sequences, but various combinations of all three IRBP lineages. The Kagoshima and Chichijima populations thus provide strong evidence of viable hybridization and genetic introgression between the two karyotypic groups, but with variable genetic outcomes. Our results demonstrate the potential of combined analysis of karyotypes and mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences to elucidate the complex dispersal and population history of the black rat.