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Phylogenetic relationships and divergence times among dormice (Rodentia, Gliridae) based on three nuclear genes
We examined phylogenetic relationships among six species representing three subfamilies, Glirinae, Graphiurinae and Leithiinae with sequences from three nuclear protein-coding genes (apolipoprotein B, APOB; interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein, IRBP; recombination-activating gene 1, RAG1). Phylogenetic trees reconstructed from maximum-parsimony (MP), maximum-likelihood (ML) and Bayesian-inference (BI) analyses showed the monophyly of Glirinae (Glis and Glirulus) and Leithiinae (Dryomys, Eliomys and Muscardinus) with strong support, although the branch length maintaining this relationship was very short, implying rapid diversification among the three subfamilies. Divergence time estimates were calculated from ML (local clock model) and Bayesian-dating method using a calibration point of 25 Myr (million years) ago for the divergence between Glis and Glirulus, and 55 Myr ago for the split between lineages of Gliridae and Sciuridae on the basis of fossil records. The results showed that each lineage of Graphiuros, Glis, Glirulus and Muscardinus dates from the Late Oligocene to the Early Miocene period, which is mostly in agreement with fossil records. Taking into account that warm climate harbouring a glirid-favoured forest dominated from Europe to Asia during this period, it is considered that this warm environment triggered the prosperity of the glirid species through the rapid diversification. Glirulus japonicas is suggested to be a relict of this ancient diversification during the warm period.
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