Evolutionary History of the Most Speciose Mammals: Molecular Phylogeny of Muroid Rodents
Molecular biology and evolution
Phylogenetic relationships between 32 species of rodents representing 14 subfamilies of Muridae and four subfamilies of Dipodidae were studied using sequences of the nuclear protein-coding genes Lecithin Cholesterol Acyl Transferase (LCAT) and von Willebrand Factor (vWF). An examination of some evolutionary properties of each data matrix indicates that the two genes are rather complementary, with lower rates of nonsynonymous substitutions for LCAT. Both markers exhibit a wide range of GC3
... range of GC3 percentages (55%-89%), with several taxa above 70% GC3 for vWF, which indicates that those exonic regions might belong to the richest class of isochores. The primary sequence data apparently harbor few saturations, except for transitions on third codon positions for vWF, as indicated by comparisons of observed and expected pairwise values of substitutions. Phylogenetic trees based on 1,962 nucleotidic sites from the two genes indicate that the 14 Muridae subfamilies are organized into five major lineages. An early isolation leads to the clade uniting the fossorial Spalacinae and semifossorial Rhizomyinae with a strong robustness. The second lineage includes a series of African taxa representing nesomyines, dendromurines, cricetomyines, and the sole living member of mystromyines. The third one comprises only the mouselike hamster Calomyscus. The fourth clade represents the cricetines, myospalacines, sigmodontines, and arvicolines, whereas the fifth one comprises four "traditional" subfamilies (Gerbillinae, Murinae, Otomyinae, and Acomyinae). Within these groups, we confirm the monophyly of almost all studied subfamilies, namely, Spalacinae, Rhizomyinae, Nesomyinae, Cricetomyinae, Arvicolinae, Sigmodontinae, Cricetinae, Gerbillinae, Acomyinae, and Murinae. Finally, we present evidence that the sister group of Acomyinae is Gerbillinae, and we confirm a nested position of Myospalacinae within Cricetinae and Otomyinae within Murinae. From a biogeographical point of view, the five main lineages spread and radiated from Asia with different degrees of success: the first three groups are now represented by a limited number of species and genera localized in some regions, whereas the last two groups radiated in a large variety of species and genera dispersed all over the world.