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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / Extreme mtDNA divergences in a terrestrial slug (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Arionidae): Accelerated evolution, allopatric divergence and secondary contact

J.a Pinceel, K.a Jordaens and T.a Backeljau (2005)

Extreme mtDNA divergences in a terrestrial slug (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Arionidae): Accelerated evolution, allopatric divergence and secondary contact

Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 18(5):1264-1280.

Extremely high levels of intraspecific mtDNA differences in pulmonate gastropods have been reported repeatedly and several hypotheses to explain them have been postulated. We studied the phylogeny and phylogeography of 51 populations (n = 843) of the highly polymorphic terrestrial slug Arion subfuscus (Draparnaud, 1805) across its native distribution range in Western Europe. By combining the analysis of single stranded conformation polymorphisms (SSCP) and nucleotide sequencing, we obtained individual sequence data for a fragment of the mitochondrial 16S rDNA and a fragment of the nuclear ITS1. Additionally, five polymorphic allozyme loci were scored. Based on the 16S rDNA phylogeny, five monophyletic haplotype groups with sequence divergences of 9-21\% were found. Despite this deep mitochondrial divergence, the haplotype groups were not monophyletic for the nuclear ITS1 fragment and haplotype group-specific allozyme alleles were not found. Although there is evidence for an accelerated mtDNA clock, the divergence among the haplotype groups is older than the Pleistocene and their current allopatric ranges probably reflect allopatric divergence and glacial survival in separate refugia from which different post-glacial colonization routes were established. A range-overlap of two mtDNA groups (S1 and S2, 21\% sequence divergence) stretched from Central France and Belgium up to the North of the British Isles. The nuclear data suggest that this secondary contact resulted in hybridization between the allopatrically diverged groups. Therefore, it seems that, at least for two of the groups, the deep mtDNA divergence was only partially accompanied by the formation of reproductive isolation. © 2005 European Society of Evolutionary Biology.

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