Lorenzini R.,Instituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale Delle Regioni Lazio E Toscana Centro Of Referenza Nazionale Per La Medicina Forense Veterinaria Rieti Italy |
Garofalo L.,Instituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale Delle Regioni Lazio E Toscana Centro Of Referenza Nazionale Per La Medicina Forense Veterinaria Rieti Italy
Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research | Year: 2015
Molecular phylogeny and evolutionary history of Cervus, the most successful and widespread cervid genus, have been extensively addressed in Europe, fairly in eastern Asia, but scarcely in central Asia, where some populations have never been phylogenetically investigated with DNA-based methods. Here, we applied a coalescent Bayesian approach to most Cervus taxa using complete mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and control region to provide a temporal framework for species differentiation and dispersal, with special emphasis on the central Asian populations from the Tarim Basin (C. elaphus bactrianus, C. elaphus yarkandensis) and Indian Kashmir (C. elaphus hanglu) aiming at assessing their phylogenetic and phylogeographic patterns. Red deer (C. elaphus), wapiti (C. canadensis) and sika deer (C. nippon) are confirmed as highly differentiated taxa, with genetic distances, divergence times and phylogenetic positions compatible with the rank of species. Similarly, the red deer of the Tarim group, hitherto considered as subspecies of C. elaphus, showed a comparable pattern of genetic distinction in the phylogeny and, according to our results, are thus worthy of being raised to the species level. The systematic position of the endangered red deer from Indian Kashmir is assessed here for the first time, and implications for its conservation are also outlined. Based on phylogeny and divergence time estimates, we propose a novel evolutionary pattern for the genus Cervus during the Mio/Pliocene, in the light of palaeo-climatological information. © 2015 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.