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See detailPhylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear data in haematophagous flies support the paraphyly of the genus Stomoxys (Diptera: Muscidae)
Dsouli, N.; Delsuc, F.; Michaux, Johan ULg et al

in Infection, Genetics and Evolution : Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Genetics of Infectious Diseases (2011), 11(3), 663-670

The genus Stomoxys Geoffroy (Diptera; Muscidae) contains species of parasitic flies that are of medical and economic importance. We conducted a phylogenetic analysis including 10 representative species of ... [more ▼]

The genus Stomoxys Geoffroy (Diptera; Muscidae) contains species of parasitic flies that are of medical and economic importance. We conducted a phylogenetic analysis including 10 representative species of the genus including multiple exemplars, together with the closely related genera Prostomoxys Zumpt, Haematobosca Bezzi, and Haematobia Lepeletier & Serville. Phylogenetic relationships were inferred using maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods from DNA fragments from the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI, 753. bp) and cytochrome b (CytB, 587. bp) mitochondrial genes, and the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2, 426. bp). The combination of mitochondrial and nuclear data strongly supports the paraphyly of the genus Stomoxys because of the inclusion of Prostomoxys saegerae Zumpt. This unexpected result suggests that Prostomoxys should be renamed into Stomoxys. Also, the deep molecular divergence observed between the subspecies Stomoxys niger niger Macquart and S. niger bilineatus Grünbreg led us to propose that they should rather be considered as distinct species, in agreement with ecological data. Bayesian phylogenetic analyses support three distinct lineages within the genus Stomoxys with a strong biogeographical component. The first lineage consists solely of the divergent Asian species S. indicus Picard which appears as the sister-group to all remaining Stomoxys species. The second clade groups the strictly African species Stomoxys inornatus Grünbreg, Stomoxys transvittatus Villeneuve, Stomoxys omega Newstead, and Stomoxys pallidus Roubaud. Finally, the third clade includes both African occurring and more widespread species such as the livestock pest Stomoxys calcitrans Linnaeus. Divergence time estimates indicate that the genus Stomoxys originated in the late Oligocene around 30 million years ago, with the major lineages diversifying in the Early Miocene between 20 and 15 million years ago at a time when temperate forests developed in the Northern Hemisphere. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. [less ▲]

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See detailBayesian analysis of hybridization and introgression between the endangered european mink (Mustela lutreola) and the polecat (Mustela putorius)
Cabria, M. T.; Michaux, Johan ULg; Gómez-Moliner, B. J. et al

in Molecular Ecology (2011), 20(6), 1176-1190

Human-mediated global change will probably increase the rates of natural hybridization and genetic introgression between closely related species, and this will have major implications for conservation of ... [more ▼]

Human-mediated global change will probably increase the rates of natural hybridization and genetic introgression between closely related species, and this will have major implications for conservation of the taxa involved. In this study, we analyse both mitochondrial and nuclear data to characterize ongoing hybridization and genetic introgression between two sympatric sister species of mustelids, the endangered European mink (Mustela lutreola) and the more abundant polecat (M. putorius). A total of 317 European mink, 114 polecats and 15 putative hybrid individuals were collected from different localities in Europe and genotyped with 13 microsatellite nuclear markers. Recently developed Bayesian methods for assigning individuals to populations and identifying admixture proportions were applied to the genetic data. To identify the direction of hybridization, we additionally sequenced mtDNA and Y chromosomes from 78 individuals and 29 males respectively. We found that both hybridization and genetic introgression occurred at low levels (3% and 0.9% respectively) and indicated that hybridization is asymmetric, as only pure polecat males mate with pure European mink females. Furthermore, backcrossing and genetic introgression was detected only from female first-generation (F1) hybrids of European mink to polecats. This latter result implies that Haldane's rule may apply. Our results suggest that hybridization and genetic introgression between the two species should be considered a rather uncommon event. However, the current low densities of European mink might be changing this trend. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. [less ▲]

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See detailPreliminary assessment of the genetic population structure of the enigmatic species Laonastes aenigmamus (Rodentia: Diatomyidae)
Rivière-Dobigny, T.; Herbreteau, V.; Khamsavath, K. et al

in Journal of Mammalogy (2011), 92(3), 620-628

Described in 2005, Laonastes aenigmamus is the only species of Diatomyidae. The known distribution of this rodent encompasses only the rugged mountains of the Khammouan karst in central Lao People's ... [more ▼]

Described in 2005, Laonastes aenigmamus is the only species of Diatomyidae. The known distribution of this rodent encompasses only the rugged mountains of the Khammouan karst in central Lao People's Democratic Republic. We used a sample of 52 specimens to survey population structure by sequencing 887 base pairs of the cytochrome-b gene. The overall haplotype diversity was low (0.789 ± 0.039 SD), with 14 haplotypes identified, whereas the nucleotide diversity was high (0.015 ± 0.008 SD). Phylogenetic and haplotypic network reconstructions revealed 3 well-supported and rather divergent lineages with mutational steps ranging from 28 to 32. Identified haplotype groups correspond to localities, suggesting that populations of L. aenigmamus are geographically structured. Mismatch distributions suggest population stability. An exact test for population differentiation confirms a significant level of differentiation. Taking into account human pressure increasingly threatening this ecosystem, we provide preliminary insights on the genetically discrete population structure of this enigmatic mammal species. © American 2011 Society of Mammalogists. [less ▲]

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See detailOrigin and putative colonization routes for invasive rodent taxa in the democratic Republic of Congo
Kaleme, P. K.; Bates, J. M.; Belesi, H. K. et al

in African Zoology (2011), 46(1), 133-145

The threat posed by biological invasions is well established. An important consideration in preventing the spread of invasives and also subsequent introductions lies in understanding introduction pathways ... [more ▼]

The threat posed by biological invasions is well established. An important consideration in preventing the spread of invasives and also subsequent introductions lies in understanding introduction pathways. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) houses a large percentage of the world's biodiversity, yet no national strategy exists to deal with the growing number of invasive alien species. Amongst these are the house mouse and ship and Norwegian rats. By comparing our result to published data, we show that species were possibly introduced into the DRC via two routes. The first is via the western seaport at Kinshasa where specimens of M. m. domesticus and R. rattus on the western and northwestern side of the DRC show ties with European haplotypes. The second is via the east where specimens of R. rattus appear linked to Arab and southeast Asian haplotypes. Future work should consider more comprehensive sampling throughout the DRC to more accurately investigate the occurrence of invasive species throughout the country as well as extend sampling to other African countries. [less ▲]

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See detailMorphological, chromosomal, and genic differences between sympatric Rattus rattus and Rattus satarae in South India
Pagès, Marie ULg; Corbet, Gordon; Orth, Annie et al

in Journal of Mammalogy (2011), 92(3), 659670

Two morphological forms of black rats (Rattus cf. rattus) were found living in sympatry in high-altitude dense forests of the Nilgiri Mountains, South India. The 1st one, often brown- or gray-bellied ... [more ▼]

Two morphological forms of black rats (Rattus cf. rattus) were found living in sympatry in high-altitude dense forests of the Nilgiri Mountains, South India. The 1st one, often brown- or gray-bellied, also is found commensal in lowland settlements and represents Rattus rattus cf. rufescens (Gray 1837), with a diploid number (2N) of 38 chromosomes. The 2nd form, which has most often a pure white belly, has 2N 5 42 chromosomes and is referable to Rattus r. satarae Hinton, 1918, based on morphological comparison with the holotype. A multidisciplinary study indicates that these 2 forms are characterized by clear-cut differences in biochemistry (electrophoresis of homologous isozymes), molecular sequences (mitochondrial and nuclear DNA), and chromosomes (detailed banding analysis). All these data, coupled to diagnostic morphological characteristics, support the hypothesis that Rattus satarae and Rattus rattus are separate, sympatric species, with no gene flow between them. Their similar external morphology is interpreted as the result of convergence through occupying the same ecological niche. [less ▲]

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See detailPhylogenetic position of the Ohiya rat (Srilankamys ohiensis) based on mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequence analysis
Buzan, Elena; Pagès, Marie ULg; Michaux, Johan ULg et al

in Zoologica Scripta (2011), 40(6), 545-553

We investigated the phylogenetic position the Ohiya rat, endemic to Sri Lanka, Srilankamys (Rodentia, Murinae), within the tribe Rattini based on the combined analysis of three independent genes (a ... [more ▼]

We investigated the phylogenetic position the Ohiya rat, endemic to Sri Lanka, Srilankamys (Rodentia, Murinae), within the tribe Rattini based on the combined analysis of three independent genes (a mitochondrial one and two nuclear exons). Three major lineages (the Maxomys, the Dacnomys and the Rattus divisions) were retrieved as monophyletic groups within the tribe Rattini. Srilankamys was not affiliated to any of the representatives of the Dacnomys division as it was supposed based on morphological characters, but clearly appeared as the first genus to diverge among the Rattus division. The Mindanao Shrew Mouse, Crunomys melanius, emerged as a part of the Maxomys division raising questions about the validity of the Crunomys and the Maxomys divisions as currently defined. Molecular date of divergence between Srilankamys and the other representatives of the Rattus division falls within the interval 6.7 ± 0.74 Mya, coinciding with the time of the isolation of Sri Lanka from the Deccan peninsula and the aridification period owing to the climate change at the end of the Miocene epoch. We suggest that the isolation of Sri Lanka from the continent, reinforced by the action of a seasonal monsoon-dominated climate, would have led to the isolation of some ancestral rodents of the Rattus division, which would have differentiated later into the Ohiya rat by a vicariant process. In a more general point of view, our study supports the previous results obtained on other organisms and evidence that Sri Lanka appears to be characterized by a particular fauna as compared to the Indian mainland. This island would therefore be considered as a specific distinct hotspot of biodiversity. [less ▲]

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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 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 phylogeography of four Apodemus species (Mammalia: Rodentia) in the Asian Far East: evidence of Quaternary climatic changes in their genetic structure
Sakka, H.; QUÉRÉ, J. P.; Kartavtseva, I. et al

in Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (2010), 100(4), 797-821

The phylogeography of four Apodemus species (Apodemus agrarius, Apodemus peninsulae, Apodemus latronum, and Apodemus draco) was studied in the Far East of Asia, based on sequences of the mitochondrial DNA ... [more ▼]

The phylogeography of four Apodemus species (Apodemus agrarius, Apodemus peninsulae, Apodemus latronum, and Apodemus draco) was studied in the Far East of Asia, based on sequences of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b gene. The results obtained show the existence of many different genetic lineages within the studied Apodemus species, suggesting the isolation and differentiation of populations in multiple refuge areas. Higher genetic diversities in some regions such as Yunnan, Sichuan (China), and eastern Russia suggest these areas are potential refuges for these species. The existence of such complex genetic structures could be linked to the presence of many biogeographic barriers (Himalaya Mountains, Tien-shan Mountains, Altai Mountains, Tibetan Plateau, Gobi desert, Yunnan Guizhou Plateau, Dzungaria basin, and others) in these regions, which were probably reinforced during the Quaternary climate changes. These barriers also played an important role concerning the low dispersal abilities of the two studied Apodemus species adapted to forest habitats (A. latronum and A. draco) with respect to colonizing regions other than China. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London. [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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