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Molecular phylogeography of the Chinese lacertids of the genus Eremias (Lacertidae) based on 16S rRNA mitochondrial DNA sequences

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In the present study, relationships among all Chinese species of lacertids in the genus Eremias, E. velox, E. grammica, E. vermiculata, E. przewalskii, E. multiocellata, E. arguta, E. brenchleyi, and E. argus, were assessed using 574 aligned base positions of 16S rRNA mitochondrial DNA sequences from 103 individuals collected from 28 populations. Three kinds of phylogenetic tree (MP, ME, and NJ) were reconstructed and were found to be concordant. All eight species well form a monophyletic group. The resulting genetic distance between E. przewalskii and E. multiocellata is surprisingly low, only 0.008. The result could be due to introgression of the mtDNA molecule. All Eastern-Asia lacertids except E. vermiculata grouped together and formed a monophyletic clade. E. vermiculata are closely related to E. arguta, a Central-Asia species. E. brenchleyi and E. argus formed a monophyletic clade as the sister group of E. multiocellata. The Central-Asia species (E. arguta, E. grammica and E. velox) originated from Central-Asia and Eastern-Asia species (the rest) from China. The phylogenetic relationships among E. grammica, E. velox, E. arguta-vermiculata, E. argus-brenchleyi, and E. multiocellata-przewalskii are unclear in the study, which needs more comprehensive taxonomic sampling from Western Asia and Europe, and additional genetic evidence to resolve it.


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