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Title

Molecular dating of caprines using ancient DNA sequences of Myotragus balearicus, an extinct endemic Balearic mammal

AuthorsLalueza-Fox, Carles ; Castresana, José ; Sampietro, Lourdes; Marqués-Bonet, Tomàs ; Alcover, Josep Antoni ; Bertranpetit, Jaume
Issue Date6-Dec-2005
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationBMC Evolutionary Biology 2005, 5:70
Abstract[Background] Myotragus balearicus was an endemic bovid from the Balearic Islands (Western Mediterranean) that became extinct around 6,000-4,000 years ago. The Myotragus evolutionary lineage became isolated in the islands most probably at the end of the Messinian crisis, when the desiccation of the Mediterranean ended, in a geological date established at 5.35 Mya. Thus, the sequences of Myotragus could be very valuable for calibrating the mammalian mitochondrial DNA clock and, in particular, the tree of the Caprinae subfamily, to which Myotragus belongs.
[Results] We have retrieved the complete mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (1,143 base pairs), plus fragments of the mitochondrial 12S gene and the nuclear 28S rDNA multi-copy gene from a well preserved Myotragus subfossil bone. The best resolved phylogenetic trees, obtained with the cytochrome b gene, placed Myotragus in a position basal to the Ovis group. Using the calibration provided by the isolation of Balearic Islands, we calculated that the initial radiation of caprines can be dated at 6.2 ± 0.4 Mya. In addition, alpine and southern chamois, considered until recently the same species, split around 1.6 ± 0.3 Mya, indicating that the two chamois species have been separated much longer than previously thought.
[Conclusion] Since there are almost no extant endemic mammals in Mediterranean islands, the sequence of the extinct Balearic endemic Myotragus has been crucial for allowing us to use the Messinian crisis calibration point for dating the caprines phylogenetic tree.
Description11 pages, 2 figures.-- PMID: 16332256 [PubMed].
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-5-70
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/1429
DOI10.1186/1471-2148-5-70
ISSN1471-2148
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