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Mitochondrial DNA from Myotragus balearicus, an extinct bovid from the Balearic Islands

AuthorsLalueza-Fox, Carles ; Bertranpetit, Jaume ; Alcover, Josep Antoni ; Shailer, N.; Hagelberg, E.
Issue Date2000
CitationJournal of Experimental Zoology 288: 56- 62 (2000)
AbstractDNA was extracted from teeth and bones of Myotragus balearicus, a bovid that evolved in isolation on the Balearic Islands (Western Mediterranean) from the end of the Miocene, becoming extinct 4,000 years BP, after the arrival of humans in the islands. The numerous morphological apomorphies of Myotragus, most strikingly its dwarfism, frontal eyes, and ever-growing incisors, obscure its phylogenetic relationships with extant bovids. Therefore, the recovery of genetic information from Myotragus is of significant interest to help clarify the taxonomic position of this species. In this study we amplified and sequenced a 95 bp (base pair) fragment of the mtDNA cytochrome b gene from 6,000-year-old specimens of Myotragus. Several experimental controls, such as amino acid analysis, independent reproduction in two different laboratories, and cloning of the PCR product, support the authenticity of the ancient DNA sequence recovered. Phylogenetic comparison with orthologous sequences from supposedly related extant genera (serow, goral, mountain goat, chamois, takin, sheep, goat, Himalayan tahr, arctic musk ox, barbary sheep, blue sheep, and saiga) from the Caprinae subfamily suggests that Myotragus is related to some of these species. However, the real phylogenetic position of Myotragus is difficult to assess, due to the lack of resolution of the present molecular study, which can be partially attributed to the short length of the genetic fragment recovered. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Identifiersissn: 0022-104X
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