Author(s): Spolsky C, Uzzell T
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Abstract mtDNAs of two Central European water frog species, Rana ridibunda and Rana lessonae, were examined by electrophoresis of restriction enzyme fragments. Two types of mtDNA occur in R. ridibunda. One shares with mtDNA of R. lessonae 25.8\% of 132 fragments generated by 19 enzymes, corresponding to a nucleotide sequence divergence of 8.1\%; the other has diverged from R. lessonae mtDNA by only 0.3\%. This latter type is a variant R. lessonae mtDNA that has been transferred into R. ridibunda; the introgression may have occurred via the hybridogenetic hybrid lineages collectively known as Rana esculenta. Of 37 R. ridibunda from Poland, 59\% had the typical R. ridibunda mtDNA; 41\% had the modified R. lessonae mtDNA as did a single individual from Switzerland (introduced). A single R. ridibunda from Turkey, outside the present range of R. lessonae, had the typical R. ridibunda mtDNA phenotype. Discordancies between inheritance of mitochondrial and nuclear genomes point up the danger of relying on a single molecular feature in reconstructing phylogeny. In addition, studies of mtDNA provide otherwise inaccessible information on complex evolutionary histories of closely related species. A knowledge of these complexities is important to an understanding of phylogenetic relationships and of the genetic processes that underlie the evolution of clonal taxa.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals