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See detailIsolation, characterization and PCR multiplexing of polymorphic microsatellite markers in the threatened murine rodent, Leopoldamys neilli
Latinne, Alice ULg; Waengsothorn, Surachit; Risterucci, Ange Marie et al

in Conservation Genetics Resources (2011), 3

Leopoldamys neilli is a threatened murine rodent species endemic to limestone karsts of Thailand. Twelve microsatellite loci were identified using the method of microsatellite-enriched libraries ... [more ▼]

Leopoldamys neilli is a threatened murine rodent species endemic to limestone karsts of Thailand. Twelve microsatellite loci were identified using the method of microsatellite-enriched libraries. Polymorphism was assessed in samples (N=62) from four geographically distinct populations in Thailand. Number of alleles per locus ranged from 9 to 15 (average 11.6). Observed and expected heterozygosities varied from 0.28 to 1.0 and from 0.44 to 0.91, respectively. There was no evidence for linkage disequilibrium, however, four loci showed evidence of departure from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium in one population. Presence of null alleles was not detected in all the 12 loci. These first microsatellites primers developed for L. neilli will provide information on the fine-scale genetic structure of this threatened species and will help in the development of future conservation policies. [less ▲]

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See detailInter- and Intraspecific Genetic Biodiversity in South East Asian Rodents: New Insights for Their Conservation
Pagès, Marie ULg; Latinne, Alice ULg; Michaux, Johan ULg

in Zachos, F. E.; Habel, J. C. (Eds.) Biodiversity Hotspots (2011)

South East Asia displays a high level of mammal endemism and the highest number of threatened and data deficient mammal species. However, the South East Asian biodiversity is still highly unexplored ... [more ▼]

South East Asia displays a high level of mammal endemism and the highest number of threatened and data deficient mammal species. However, the South East Asian biodiversity is still highly unexplored. Because of the runaway global changes, a better biological knowledge of this region is urgently required to improve the conservation and the management of its biodiversity. The first aim of this chapter is to present recent published data on a biodiversity inventory of the Rattini murine rodents from this region based on molecular markers (Page`s et al., 2009). In this first study, we applied the method proposed by Pons et al. (2006) that determines with no a priori the locations of ancestral nodes that define putative species in order to investigate the current taxonomy of the Rattini tribe. Our second aim concerns the intraspecific genetic structure of a rare and threatened South East Asian mammal species: the murine rodent Leopoldamys neilli, endemic to karst habitats . In this latter study, our results evidenced a high geographic structure of the genetic diversity of this species. The observed highly divergent genetic lineages would have to be considered as distinct evolutionary units or at least as Management units. These results are essential for the best conservation issues of species endemic to karsts and to South East Asia, in general. In this chapter, we therefore highlight that South East Asia would not be only a hotspot of interspecific but also of intraspecific biodiversity. [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence of complex phylogeographic structure for the threatened rodent Leopoldamys neilli, in Southeast Asia
Latinne, Alice ULg; Waengsothorn, Surachit; Herbreteau, Vincent et al

in Conservation Genetics (2011), 12

Leopoldamys neilli is a threatened murine rodent species endemic to limestone karsts of Thailand. We have studied the phylogeography of L. neilli using two mitochondrial markers (cytb, COI) and one ... [more ▼]

Leopoldamys neilli is a threatened murine rodent species endemic to limestone karsts of Thailand. We have studied the phylogeography of L. neilli using two mitochondrial markers (cytb, COI) and one nuclear fragment (bfibr), in order to assess the influence of its endemicity to karst habitat. One hundred fifteen individuals of L. neilli were collected in 20 localities throughout the geographic range of this species in Thailand. Our study revealed strong geographic structure of the mtDNA genetic diversity: six highly differentiated, allopatric genetic lineages were observed in our dataset. They exhibit a very high degree of genetic divergence, low gene flow among lineages and low levels of haplotype and nucleotide diversities within lineages. Our results suggest that L. neilli’s populations are highly fragmented due to the scattered distribution of its karst habitat. The most divergent lineage includes the populations from western Thailand, which have been separated from the other genetic lineages since at least the Early Pleistocene. The other lineages are more closely related and have diverged since the Middle Pleistocene. This study revealed an unexpected high level of genetic differentiation within L. neilli and highlighted the high endemicity of this species to limestone karsts. Our results enhance the importance of protecting limestone habitats to preserve not only the species but also intraspecific diversity. [less ▲]

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See detailThai limestone karsts: an impending biodiversity crisis
Latinne, Alice ULg; Waengsothorn, Surachit; Herbreteau, Vincent et al

in The 1st EnvironmentAsia International Conference (2011)

Due to the high level of endemic species that they support and the high threats they are facing, such as unsustainable limestone quarrying, hunting and urbanization, limestone karsts are recognized as ... [more ▼]

Due to the high level of endemic species that they support and the high threats they are facing, such as unsustainable limestone quarrying, hunting and urbanization, limestone karsts are recognized as biodiversity hotspots needing urgent protection. The first aim of our study was to investigate the mammal rodent diversity of Thai limestone karsts. Our second aim was to examine the diversity at a finer scale than the species level (intraspecific biodiversity) using phylogeographic approaches. Therefore, we studied the phylogeographic structure of a threatened rodent, endemic to limestone karsts of Thailand, the Murinae Leopoldamys neilli. We sampled 76 limestone karsts in whole Thailand and live-trapped 444 rodents including 115 Leopoldamys neilli. Our study revealed an important rodent diversity in Thai limestone karsts. Besides endemic rodent species, karsts also host typical forest species to which they provide forest refugia in deforested regions. At the intraspecific level, our study revealed an unexpected high level of genetic differentiation within the rodent species L. neilli. As each limestone area of Thailand is characterized by a particular genetic lineage of L. neilli, the destruction of these karsts would lead to the disappearance of unique intraspecific strains not found elsewhere. Our results highlight the importance of protecting limestone habitats to preserve not only their interspecific but also intraspecific rodent diversity that is highly threatened as more than 20% of limestone karsts in Thailand have already been quarried. Management plans of limestone, a non-renewable resource, should urgently take into account this high biological importance of karsts. [less ▲]

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See detailInvestigating the intraspecific biodiversity of the threatened rodent Leopoldamys neilli in Southeast Asia
Latinne, Alice ULg; Waengsothorn, Surachit; Herbreteau, Vincent et al

Conference (2010, September 23)

We study the phylogeography of Leopoldamys neilli, a threatened murine rodent species endemic to limestone karsts of Thailand, in order to assess the influence of its endemicity to karstic habitat on its ... [more ▼]

We study the phylogeography of Leopoldamys neilli, a threatened murine rodent species endemic to limestone karsts of Thailand, in order to assess the influence of its endemicity to karstic habitat on its intraspecific biodiversity and phylogeographic pattern. Samples of L. neilli were collected in limestone karsts from 20 localities in seven provinces of Thailand. Two mitochondrial markers, the cytochrome b gene (cytb) and the cytochrome c oxydase subunit I gene (COI), were sequenced for 115 L. neilli individuals. A nuclear fragment, the β-fibrinogen intron 7 (bfibr), was amplified in a subset of 65 samples. Phylogenetic reconstructions and median joining networks were used to explore relationships between haplotypes of the studied populations. Haplotype and nucleotide diversities of the main lineages were estimated for each locus. Divergence times of the main lineages of L. neilli were estimated using Bayesian inference. The demographic histories of the main lineages of L.neilli were also examined. Our study gave evidence of a strong geographic structure of the genetic diversity for L. neilli. Six highly differentiated genetic lineages were observed in the phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses. These lineages are allopatric and correspond to particular regions of Thailand. They exhibit very high degree of genetic divergence and gene flows between them are extremely low. Within each lineage, the levels of haplotype and nucleotide diversities are very low for each gene. These results suggest a severe fragmentation of L. neilli’s populations, correlated to the fragmented distribution of its habitat and highlight its high endemicity to limestone karsts. The strong phylogeographic pattern of L. neilli and the very ancient separation of some lineages could be explained by the geological history of Thailand during Tertiary and Quaternary era. In conclusion, this study revealed an unexpectedly high level of intraspecific biodiversity within the species L. neilli. These results consolidate the importance to strengthen the protection of limestone habitats and to preserve not only their huge interspecific but also intraspecific biodiversity. [less ▲]

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See detailRevisiting the taxonomy of the Rattini tribe: a phylogeny-based delimitation of species boundaries
Pagès, Marie ULg; Chaval, Yannick; Herbreteau, Vincent et al

Conference (2010, April)

Rodents are recognized as hosts for at least 60 zoonotic diseases and may represent a serious threat for human health. In the context of global environmental changes and increasing mobility of humans and ... [more ▼]

Rodents are recognized as hosts for at least 60 zoonotic diseases and may represent a serious threat for human health. In the context of global environmental changes and increasing mobility of humans and animals, contacts between pathogens and potential animal hosts and vectors are modified, amplifying the risk of disease emergence. An accurate identification of each rodent at a specific level is needed in order to understand their implications in the transmission of diseases. Among the Muridae, the Rattini tribe encompasses 167 species inhabiting South East Asia, a hotspot of both biodiversity and emerging and re-emerging diseases. The region faces growing economical development that affects habitats, biodiversity and health. Rat species have been demonstrated as significant hosts of pathogens but are still difficult to recognize at a specific level using morphological criteria. DNA-barcoding methods appear as accurate tools for rat species identification but their use is hampered by the need of reliable identification of reference specimens. In this study, we explore and highlight the limits of the current taxonomy of the Rattini tribe. We used the DNA sequence information itself as the primary information source to establish group membership and estimate putative species boundaries. We sequenced two mitochondrial and one nuclear genes from 122 rat samples to perform phylogenetic reconstructions. The method of Pons and colleagues (2006) that determines, with no prior expectations, the locations of ancestral nodes defining putative species was then applied to our dataset. To give an appropriate name to each cluster recognized as a putative species, we reviewed information from the literature and obtained sequences from a museum holotype specimen following the ancient DNA criteria. [less ▲]

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See detailComparative study of Murid gamma-herpesvirus 4 infection in mice and in a natural host, the bank voles.
François, Sylvie ULg; Vidick, Sarah ULg; Sarlet, Michaël ULg et al

in Journal of General Virology (The) (2010)

Gamma-herpesviruses are archetypal pathogenic persistent viruses. The known human gamma-herpesviruses (Epstein-Barr virus and Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpesvirus) are host-specific and therefore lack ... [more ▼]

Gamma-herpesviruses are archetypal pathogenic persistent viruses. The known human gamma-herpesviruses (Epstein-Barr virus and Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpesvirus) are host-specific and therefore lack a convenient in vivo infection model. This makes related animal gamma-herpesviruses an important source of information. We are studying Murid herpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4), a virus originally isolated from bank voles (Myodes glareolus). MuHV-4 infection of inbred laboratory mouse strains (Mus musculus) is commonly used as a general model of gamma-herpesvirus pathogenesis. However, MuHV-4 has not been isolated from house mice, and no systematic comparison has been made between experimental MuHV-4 infections of mice and bank voles. We have therefore characterized MuHV-4 (strain MHV-68) infection of bank voles, both through global luciferase imaging and through classical virological methods. As in mice, intranasal virus inoculation led to productive replication in bank vole lungs, accompanied by massive cellular infiltrates. However, the extent of lytic virus replication was ~1000 fold lower in bank voles than in mice. Peak latency titers in lymphoid tissue were also lower, although latency was still established. Finally, we tested viral transmission between animals maintained in captivity. However, as observed in mice, MuHV-4 did not transmit between voles in these conditions. In conclusion, this study revealed that despite quantitative differences, replication and latency sites of MuHV-4 are comparable in bank voles and in mice. It appears therefore so far that Mus musculus represents a suitable host for studying gamma-herpesvirus pathogenesis with MuHV-4. Establishing transmission conditions in captivity will be a vital step for further research in that field. [less ▲]

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See detailRefining the taxonomy of the Rattini tribe: a phylogeny-based delimitation of species boundaries
Pagès, Marie ULg; Chaval, Yannick; Herbreteau, Vincent et al

in BMC Evolutionary Biology (2010), 10(184), 184

Background: Rodents are recognized as hosts for at least 60 zoonotic diseases and may represent a serious threat for human health. In the context of global environmental changes and increasing mobility of ... [more ▼]

Background: Rodents are recognized as hosts for at least 60 zoonotic diseases and may represent a serious threat for human health. In the context of global environmental changes and increasing mobility of humans and animals, contacts between pathogens and potential animal hosts and vectors are modified, amplifying the risk of disease emergence. An accurate identification of each rodent at a specific level is needed in order to understand their implications in the transmission of diseases. Among the Muridae, the Rattini tribe encompasses 167 species inhabiting South East Asia, a hotspot of both biodiversity and emerging and re-emerging diseases. The region faces growing economical development that affects habitats, biodiversity and health. Rat species have been demonstrated as significant hosts of pathogens but are still difficult to recognize at a specific level using morphological criteria. DNAbarcoding methods appear as accurate tools for rat species identification but their use is hampered by the need of reliable identification of reference specimens. In this study, we explore and highlight the limits of the current taxonomy of the Rattini tribe. <br />Results: We used the DNA sequence information itself as the primary information source to establish group membership and estimate putative species boundaries. We sequenced two mitochondrial and one nuclear genes from 122 rat samples to perform phylogenetic reconstructions. The method of Pons and colleagues (2006) that determines, with no prior expectations, the locations of ancestral nodes defining putative species was then applied to our dataset. To give an appropriate name to each cluster recognized as a putative species, we reviewed information from the literature and obtained sequences from a museum holotype specimen following the ancient DNA criteria. <br />Conclusions: Using a recently developed methodology, this study succeeds in refining the taxonomy of one of the most difficult groups of mammals. Most of the species expected within the area were retrieved but new putative species limits were also indicated, in particular within Berylmys and Rattus genera, where future taxonomic studies should be directed. Our study lays the foundations to better investigate rodent-born diseases in South East Asia and illustrates the relevance of evolutionary studies for health and medical sciences. [less ▲]

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See detailA multi-approach survey as the most reliable tool to accurately assess biodiversity: the example of Thai murine rodents
Chaval, Yannick; Dobigny, Gauthier; Michaux, Johan ULg et al

in Kasetsart Journal. Natural Sciences (2010), 44(4), 590-603

Wildlife surveys rely on an accurate taxonomic framework. Identification tools used to reach this goal are not equivalent and may depend on several objectives and constraints, including sampling ... [more ▼]

Wildlife surveys rely on an accurate taxonomic framework. Identification tools used to reach this goal are not equivalent and may depend on several objectives and constraints, including sampling conservation difficulties, the invasiveness of the sampling techniques, sampling capacity, the relevance of the results, materials needed, the cost and the user time required in the field and laboratory. This article presents and discusses the advantages and limits of each identification tool used in the Ceropath (Community ecology of rodents and their pathogens in South East Asia) program to reach a fast and relevant identification of the rodents sampled. It is concluded that there needs to be a combination of the results from different methods, including the most recent ones, to achieve an improvement in taxonomic identification. [less ▲]

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See detailSeasonal variation in molar outline of bank voles: An effect of wear?
Guérécheau, Aurélie; Ledevin, Ronan; Henttonen, Heikki et al

in Mammalian Biology (2010)

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See detailGenetic and historic evidence for climate-driven population fragmentation in a top cetacean predator: the harbour porpoises in European water.
Fontaine, Michaël C. ULg; Tolley, Krystal A.; Michaux, Johan ULg et al

in Proceedings of the Royal Society B : Biological Sciences (2010), 277(1695), 2829-37

Recent climate change has triggered profound reorganization in northeast Atlantic ecosystems, with substantial impact on the distribution of marine assemblages from plankton to fishes. However, assessing ... [more ▼]

Recent climate change has triggered profound reorganization in northeast Atlantic ecosystems, with substantial impact on the distribution of marine assemblages from plankton to fishes. However, assessing the repercussions on apex marine predators remains a challenging issue, especially for pelagic species. In this study, we use Bayesian coalescent modelling of microsatellite variation to track the population demographic history of one of the smallest temperate cetaceans, the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in European waters. Combining genetic inferences with palaeo-oceanographic and historical records provides strong evidence that populations of harbour porpoises have responded markedly to the recent climate-driven reorganization in the eastern North Atlantic food web. This response includes the isolation of porpoises in Iberian waters from those further north only approximately 300 years ago with a predominant northward migration, contemporaneous with the warming trend underway since the 'Little Ice Age' period and with the ongoing retreat of cold-water fishes from the Bay of Biscay. The extinction or exodus of harbour porpoises from the Mediterranean Sea (leaving an isolated relict population in the Black Sea) has lacked a coherent explanation. The present results suggest that the fragmentation of harbour distribution range in the Mediterranean Sea was triggered during the warm 'Mid-Holocene Optimum' period (approx. 5000 years ago), by the end of the post-glacial nutrient-rich 'Sapropel' conditions that prevailed before that time. [less ▲]

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See detailVietnamese chickens: a gate towards Asian genetic diversity.
Berthouly-Salazar, C.; Rognon, X.; Van, T Nhu et al

in BMC Genetics (2010), 11

BACKGROUND: Chickens represent an important animal genetic resource and the conservation of local breeds is an issue for the preservation of this resource. The genetic diversity of a breed is mainly ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Chickens represent an important animal genetic resource and the conservation of local breeds is an issue for the preservation of this resource. The genetic diversity of a breed is mainly evaluated through its nuclear diversity. However, nuclear genetic diversity does not provide the same information as mitochondrial genetic diversity. For the species Gallus gallus, at least 8 maternal lineages have been identified. While breeds distributed westward from the Indian subcontinent usually share haplotypes from 1 to 2 haplogroups, Southeast Asian breeds exhibit all the haplogroups. The Vietnamese Ha Giang (HG) chicken has been shown to exhibit a very high nuclear diversity but also important rates of admixture with wild relatives. Its geographical position, within one of the chicken domestication centres ranging from Thailand to the Chinese Yunnan province, increases the probability of observing a very high genetic diversity for maternal lineages, and in a way, improving our understanding of the chicken domestication process. RESULTS: A total of 106 sequences from Vietnamese HG chickens were first compared to the sequences of published Chinese breeds. The 25 haplotypes observed in the Vietnamese HG population belonged to six previously published haplogroups which are: A, B, C, D, F and G. On average, breeds from the Chinese Yunnan province carried haplotypes from 4.3 haplogroups. For the HG population, haplogroup diversity is found at both the province and the village level (0.69).The AMOVA results show that genetic diversity occurred within the breeds rather than between breeds or provinces. Regarding the global structure of the mtDNA diversity per population, a characteristic of the HG population was the occurrence of similar pattern distribution as compared to G. gallus spadiceus. However, there was no geographical evidence of gene flow between wild and domestic populations as observed when microsatellites were used. CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to other chicken populations, the HG chicken population showed very high genetic diversity at both the nuclear and mitochondrial levels. Due to its past and recent history, this population accumulates a specific and rich gene pool highlighting its interest and the need for conservation. [less ▲]

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See detailMitochondrial phylogeography of the edible dormouse (Glis glis) in the western Palearctic region
Hurner, Helene; Krystufek, Boris; Sara, Maurizio et al

in Journal of Mammalogy (2010), 91(1), 233-242

This study describes in detail the phylogeoraphic pattern Of the edible dormouse (Glis glis) a European rodent With pronounced hibernating behavior We Used sequences of 831 base pairs of the mitochondrial ... [more ▼]

This study describes in detail the phylogeoraphic pattern Of the edible dormouse (Glis glis) a European rodent With pronounced hibernating behavior We Used sequences of 831 base pairs of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome-b gene from 130 edible dormice collected at 43 localities (throughout Its distribution. Our results reveal presence of 3 main haplogroups: Sicilian, South Italian (restricted to the Calabrian region) (a widespread lineage corresponding to all remaining western, central. and eastern European populations). Examination of paleontological data confirms refugial regions for G,Its in the 3 Mediterranean peninsulas, although overall low genetic diversity is found. The low diversity of the European lineage Is probably the result refugium. Other factors, such as the of a recent expansion (dated around 2.000( years ago) from a single ecological constraints oil the species, way have caused genetic bottlenecks that reinforced the low genetic variability of G glis. This work could have important implications for strategies to conserve the edible dormouse by defining important areas for their conservation DOI: 10.1644/08-MAMM-A-392R1.1 [less ▲]

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See detailEvolutionary history of the bank vole Myodes glareolus: a morphometric perspective
Ledevin, Ronan; Michaux, Johan ULg; Deffontaine, Valerie et al

in Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (2010), 100(3), 681-694

The bank vole experienced a complex history during the Quaternary. Repeated isolation in glacial refugia led to the differentiation of several lineages in less than 300 000 years. We investigated if such ... [more ▼]

The bank vole experienced a complex history during the Quaternary. Repeated isolation in glacial refugia led to the differentiation of several lineages in less than 300 000 years. We investigated if such a recent differentiation led to a significant divergence of phenotypic characters between European lineages, which might provide insight into processes of intraspecific differentiation. The size and shape of the first and third upper molars, and first lower molar, of bank voles genetically attributed to different lineages were quantified using an outline analysis of their occlusal surface. The three teeth present similar trends of decreasing size towards high latitudes. This trend, the inverse of Bergmann's rule, is interpreted as the result of a balance between metabolic efficiency and food availability, favouring small body size in cold regions. Molar shape appeared to differ between lineages despite genetic evidence of suture zones. A mosaic pattern of evolution between the different teeth was evidenced. The analysis of such phenotypic features appears as a valuable complement to genetic analyses, providing a complementary insight into evolutionary processes, such as selective pressures, that have driven the differentiation of the lineages. It may further allow the integration of the paleontological dimension of the bank vole phylogeographic history. (C) 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 681-694. [less ▲]

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See detailMolecular phylogeography of the common dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius, in Europe
Mouton, Alice ULg; Grill, Andrea; Krystufek, Boris et al

Conference (2009, September)

The common dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius is naturally rare in Europe. Recently, natural scarcity has been exacerbated by anthropogenic environmental damages. This specie is now regarded as rare or ... [more ▼]

The common dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius is naturally rare in Europe. Recently, natural scarcity has been exacerbated by anthropogenic environmental damages. This specie is now regarded as rare or endangered, attracting conservation related research and active habitat management to assist its survival. Furthermore, obligatory thermophilous species are probably more affected by cold phases than cold-tolerant organisms. The evolutionary history of the common dormouse would therefore show significant differences compared to other species. To better understand the genetic variation and structure of this species, we developed a phylogeographic study based on sequences of 700 base pairs of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b gene from 102 specimens collected throughout its palearctic distribution. The obtained dataset was analysed using different phylogenetic reconstruction as well as other methods adapted to phylogeography. The analysis of the mtDNA reveals a number of surprises. The results show two major genetic lineages: the first corresponding to the Western and Italian populations; the second comprising the Balkan and the Northern populations. Furthermore, the analyses tend to propose a scenario of multiple refugia in the Italian peninsula. This pattern of ‘refugia within-refugia’ has important implications in interpreting the distribution patterns of genetic diversity within the southern peninsulas. The Calabria region and Sicily could be “hot spots” of intraspecific biodiversity of Muscardinus avellanarius. These regions would thus deserve attention when deciding Evolutionary Significant Units (“ESU) for conservation of this species. [less ▲]

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See detailIntraspecific biodiversity in South East asian rodents: new insights for their conservation
Latinne, Alice ULg; Rivière, Taiana; Pagès, Marie ULg et al

Poster (2009, August)

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See detailRefining the taxonomy of the Rattini tribe: a phylogeny-based delimitation of species boundaries
Pagès, Marie ULg; Chaval, Yannick; Waengsothorn, Surachit et al

Poster (2009, August)

Among mammals, rodents are recognized as the major hosts and vectors of zoonoses and represent a serious threat for human health. Because of global change, interactions between hosts and pathogens are ... [more ▼]

Among mammals, rodents are recognized as the major hosts and vectors of zoonoses and represent a serious threat for human health. Because of global change, interactions between hosts and pathogens are dramatically modified leading to new unexpected disease risks. To predict some of these, accurate identification of each rodent at specific level is needed. Among Muridae, the Rattini tribe encompasses 167 species inhabiting South East Asia, a hotspot of biodiversity facing with a growing economical development, affecting habitats, biodiversity and health but also a hot place of emerging and re-emerging diseases. Rat species were demonstrated as main hosts of pathogens but are difficult to recognize at a specific level using morphological criteria. DNA-barcoding methods appear as promising tools for accurate rat species identifications but their achievement is hampered by the need of reliable identifications as a departure. To provide a rigorous systematic framework for epidemiological surveys, we carried out a taxonomic revision of the Rattini tribe. As morphological characters are misleading, we decided to use the DNA sequence information itself as the primary information source to establish group membership and define species boundaries. We sequenced two mitochondrial and one nuclear genes from 122 rat samples to perform phylogenetic reconstructions and applied the method developed by Pons and colleagues (2006) that determines with no a priori the locations of ancestral nodes defining putative species. To name each cluster recognized as a valid species, we obtained sequence from museum holotype specimen, illustrating how huge opportunities ancient DNA analysis may offer to taxonomists. [less ▲]

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See detailInter and intra genetic biodiversity in South East asian rodents: new insights for their conservation
Pagès, Marie ULg; Latinne, Alice ULg; Rivière, Taiana et al

Conference (2009, March 28)

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See detailRodent biodiversity in South East Asia: the case of the Rattini group and the endemic karst rodent, Laonastes aenigmamous
Pagès, Marie ULg; Michaux, Johan ULg

Scientific conference (2009, March 20)

Among mammals, rodents are recognized as the major hosts and vectors of zoonoses and represent a serious threat for human health. Because of global change, interactions between hosts and pathogens are ... [more ▼]

Among mammals, rodents are recognized as the major hosts and vectors of zoonoses and represent a serious threat for human health. Because of global change, interactions between hosts and pathogens are dramatically modified leading to new unexpected disease risks. To predict some of these, accurate identification of each rodent at specific level is needed. Among Muridae, the Rattini tribe encompasses 167 species inhabiting South East Asia, a hotspot of biodiversity facing with a growing economical development, affecting habitats, biodiversity and health but also a hot place of emerging and re-emerging diseases. Rat species were demonstrated as main hosts of pathogens but are difficult to recognize at a specific level using morphological criteria. DNA-barcoding methods appear as promising tools for accurate rat species identifications but their achievement is hampered by the need of reliable identifications as a departure. To provide a rigorous systematic framework for epidemiological surveys, we carried out a taxonomic revision of the Rattini tribe. As morphological characters are misleading, we decided to use the DNA sequence information itself as the primary information source to establish group membership and define species boundaries. We sequenced two mitochondrial and one nuclear genes from 122 rat samples to perform phylogenetic reconstructions and applied the method developed by Pons and colleagues (2006) that determines with no a priori the locations of ancestral nodes defining putative species. To name each cluster recognized as a valid species, we obtained sequence from museum holotype specimen, illustrating how huge opportunities ancient DNA analysis may offer to taxonomists. Moreover, we will present some examples of intra-specific genetic biodiversity on rodents from SEA using phylogeographic approaches. [less ▲]

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See detailA relict bank vole lineage highlights the biogeographic history of the Pyrenean region in Europe
Deffontaine Deurbroeck, Valérie ULg; Ledevin, Ronan; Fontaine, Michaël ULg et al

in Molecular Ecology (2009)

The Pyrenean region exhibits high levels of endemism suggesting a major contribution to the phylogeography of European species. But, to date, the role of the Pyrenees and surrounding areas as a glacial ... [more ▼]

The Pyrenean region exhibits high levels of endemism suggesting a major contribution to the phylogeography of European species. But, to date, the role of the Pyrenees and surrounding areas as a glacial refugium for temperate species remains poorly explored. In the current study, we investigated the biogeographic role of the Pyrenean region through the analyses of genetic polymorphism and morphology of a typical forest-dwelling small mammal, the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). Analyses of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and the third upper molar (M(3)) show a complex phylogeographic structure in the Pyrenean region with at least three distinct lineages: the Western European, Spanish and Basque lineages. The Basque lineage in the northwestern (NW) Pyrenees was identified as a new clearly differentiated and geographically localized bank vole lineage in Europe. The average M(3) shape of Basque bank voles suggests morphological differentiation but also restricted genetic exchanges with other populations. Our genetic and morphological results as well as palaeo-environmental and fossils records support the hypothesis of a new glacial refugium in Europe situated in the NW Pyrenees. The permissive microclimatic conditions that prevailed for a long time in this region may have allowed the survival of temperate species, including humans. Moreover, local differentiation around the Pyrenees is favoured by the opportunity for populations to track the shift of the vegetation belt in altitude rather than in latitude. The finding of the Basque lineage is in agreement with the high level of endemic taxa reported in the NW Pyrenees. [less ▲]

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