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Mitochondrial DNA variability in viviparous and ovoviviparous populations of the urodele Salamandra salamandra

AuthorsDopazo, H.; Boto, Luis ; Alberch, Pere
S. salamandra
mitochondrial DNA
secondary contact zones
Issue DateMay-1998
PublisherBirkhäuser Verlag
CitationJournal of Evolutionary Biology
AbstractMitochondrial DNA analysis of 13 populations of S. salamandra along a transect across the North of the Iberian Peninsula showed values of divergence between haplotypes ranging from d= 0.41% to 5.91%. Phenetic and cladistic analysis grouped the isofemale lineages into two main clusters with contrasting phylogeographic patterns. The first group encompasses populations located at each extreme of the Iberian Peninsula. Despite the large geographic distance separating these populations, they exhibit only a minor degree of divergence among haplotypes. In contrast, much higher diversification, in both number of distinct haplotypes, and overall genetic divergence, was observed in the second group of phylogenetically related populations. Surprisingly, this process of radiation and divergence in mtDNA haplotypes occurred in populations in close geographic proximity. All populations sampled in this group are located within a 300 km range, in the central part of our transect across the Northern edge of the Peninsula. Most populations in the central range of our transect exhibit viviparous reproduction ~ which is derived and highly unusual among urodeles. The genetic distances measured among Asturian (central portion of our transect), viviparous populations are higher than the distances measured between the two main taxonomic clusters. A viviparous population showing an unusual level of mtDNA heterogenetiy is reported and the potential implications of this focus of localized variability are discussed. The dynamics of isofemale lineages among the two reproductive modes was further explored in combination with the previous allozyme data. Several nuclear markers suggest that major mtDNA divergences could be explained by long-term extrinsic barriers to gene flow. Isofemale lineages indicate a narrow secondary contact zone among populations with different reproductive patterns. The existence of viviparous and ovovivparous populations sharing a common haplotype suggests that reproductive transition in S. salamandra could have arisen in absence of genetic mtDNA differentiation. We finally outline a genetic model system where the acquisition of water independence from a primitively aquatic dependent amphibian life cycle can be analyzed from a microevolutionary perspective.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1420-9101.1998.11030365.x
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