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Plio-Pleistocene history of West African Sudanian savanna and the phylogeography of the Praomys daltoni complex (Rodentia): the environment/geography/genetic interplay

Authors

  • J. BRYJA,

    1. Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic
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  • L. GRANJON,

    1. IRD, CBGP (UMR IRD / INRA / CIRAD / MontpellierSupAgro), Campus International de Baillarguet, CS 30016, 34988 Montferrier-sur-Lez Cedex, France
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    • Present address: IRD, CBGP (UMR IRD / INRA / CIRAD / MontpellierSupAgro), Campus de Bel-Air, BP 1386, Dakar, CP 18524, Senegal.

  • G. DOBIGNY,

    1. IRD, CBGP (UMR IRD / INRA / CIRAD / MontpellierSupAgro), Campus International de Baillarguet, CS 30016, 34988 Montferrier-sur-Lez Cedex, France
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    • Present address: Centre Régional Agrhymet, Rive Droite, BP11011, Niamey, Niger.

  • H. PATZENHAUEROVÁ,

    1. Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic
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  • A. KONEČNÝ,

    1. Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic
    2. IRD, CBGP (UMR IRD / INRA / CIRAD / MontpellierSupAgro), Campus International de Baillarguet, CS 30016, 34988 Montferrier-sur-Lez Cedex, France
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  • J. M. DUPLANTIER,

    1. IRD, CBGP (UMR IRD / INRA / CIRAD / MontpellierSupAgro), Campus International de Baillarguet, CS 30016, 34988 Montferrier-sur-Lez Cedex, France
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  • P. GAUTHIER,

    1. IRD, CBGP (UMR IRD / INRA / CIRAD / MontpellierSupAgro), Campus International de Baillarguet, CS 30016, 34988 Montferrier-sur-Lez Cedex, France
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  • M. COLYN,

    1. UMR CNRS 6553 Ecobio, Université de Rennes 1, Station Biologique, 35380 Paimpont, France
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  • L. DURNEZ,

    1. Evolutionary Ecology Group, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerp, Belgium & Mycobacteriology Unit, Department of Microbiology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nationalestraat 155, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium
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  • A. LALIS,

    1. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Département de Systématique et Evolution, UMR CNRS 7205, Laboratoire Mammifères et Oiseaux, 47 rue Cuvier, CP 51, 75005 Paris, France
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  • V. NICOLAS

    1. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Département de Systématique et Evolution, UMR CNRS 7205, Laboratoire Mammifères et Oiseaux, 47 rue Cuvier, CP 51, 75005 Paris, France
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Josef Bryja, Department of Population Biology, Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 675 02 Studenec 122, Czech Republic. Fax: +420-568422387; E-mail: bryja@brno.cas.cz

Abstract

Rodents of the Praomys daltoni complex are typical inhabitants of the Sudanian savanna ecosystem in western Africa and represent a suitable model for testing the effects of Quaternary climatic oscillations on extant genetic variation patterns. Phylogeographical analyses of mitochondrial DNA sequences (cytochrome b) across the distribution range of the complex revealed several well-defined clades that do not support the division of the clade into the two species currently recognized on the basis of morphology, i.e. P. daltoni (Thomas, 1892) and Praomys derooi (Van der Straeten & Verheyen 1978). The observed genetic structure fits the refuge hypothesis, suggesting that only a small number of populations repeatedly survived in distinct forest-savanna mosaic blocks during the arid phases of the Pleistocene, and then expanded again during moister periods. West African rivers may also have contributed to genetic differentiation, especially by forming barriers after secondary contact of expanding populations. The combination of three types of genetic markers (mtDNA sequences, microsatellite loci, cytogenetic data) provides evidence for the presence of up to three lineages, which most probably represent distinct biological species. Furthermore, incongruence between nuclear and mtDNA markers in some individuals unambiguously points towards a past introgression event. Our results highlight the importance of combining different molecular markers for an accurate interpretation of genetic data.

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