Molecular evidence for high levels of intrapopulation genetic diversity in woodrats (Neotoma micropus)

Francisca M. Mendez-Harclerode, Richard E. Strauss, Charles F. Fulhorst, Mary L. Milazzo, Donald C. Ruthven, Robert D. Bradley

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11 Scopus citations


Nucleotide sequences from the mitochondrial control region and genotypes from 5 nuclear microsatellite loci were used to examine genetic structure and infer recent (within approximately the last 3,000 years) evolutionary history of a population (549 individuals) of the southern plains woodrat (Neotoma micropus). Observed heterozygosity values ranged from 0.61 to 0.89 across microsatellite loci and systematically were lower than expected heterozygosity values (0.66-0.95). Probability of unique identity using microsatellite data was high (1 individual in 66,005,424). Fifty-three mitochondrial haplotypes were obtained from 150 individuals. FST values estimated from sequence and microsatellite data were 0.061 and 0.011, respectively, and the RST for microsatellite data was 0.007. Within-group genetic variation ranged from 93.90% to 99.99% depending on whether sequence or microsatellite data were examined. Analyses of microsatellite data suggested that all sampled individuals belonged to a single population, albeit genetically diverse. However, combined data analyses suggested the presence of low levels of substructure attributable to maternal lineages within the population. Low nucleotide-diversity values (0.007-0.010) in addition to high haplotype-diversity values (0.915-0.933) indicate a high number of closely related haplotypes, and suggest that this population may have undergone a recent expansion. However, Fu's FS statistic did not fully support this finding, because it did not reveal a significant excess of recent mutations. A phylogenetic approach using the haplotype sequence data and a combined set including both haplotype and genotype data was used to test for evolutionary patterns and history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-370
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Control region
  • D-loop
  • Evolutionary history
  • Genetic structure
  • Microsatellites
  • Neotoma micropus
  • Population genetics


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