Phylogeography and recolonization of the Swiss Alps by the Valais shrew (Sorex antinorii), inferred with autosomal and sex-specific markers


Glenn Yannic, Ecole d’Ingénieurs HES de Lullier, 150, Route de Presinge, CH-1254 Jussy, Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 759 9501; E-mail:


Using one male-inherited, one female-inherited and eight biparentally inherited markers, we investigate the population genetic structure of the Valais shrew (Sorex antinorii) in the Swiss Alps. Bayesian analysis on autosomal microsatellites suggests a clear genetic differentiation between two groups of populations. This geographically based structure is consistent with two separate postglacial recolonization routes of the species into Switzerland from Italian refugia after the last Pleistocene glaciations. Sex-specific markers also confirm genetic structuring among western and eastern areas, since very few haplotypes for either Y chromosome or mtDNA genome are shared between the two regions. Overall, these results suggest that two already well-differentiated genetic lineages colonized the Swiss Alps and came into secondary contact in the Rhône Valley. Low level of admixture between the two lineages is likely explained by the mountainous landscape structure of lateral valleys orthogonal to the main Rhône valley.