Phylogeny of species and cytotypes of mole rats (Spalacidae) in Turkey inferred from mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences
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We described the genetic variation of cytochrome b gene sequences of blind mole rats in Turkey. We examined 47 individuals belonging to nine cytotypes of three superspecies Nannospalax leucodon, N. xanthodon and N. ehrenbergi in the 402bp gene sequence of cytochrome b. Phylogenetic analyses showed that relationships between cytotypes were well supported, but deeper divergence between species showed insignificant relationships. Cytotypes of N. xanthodon with low diploid number of chromosomes from western Turkey formed a monophyletic group distinct from the populations with higher number of chromosomes (2n = 56-60). The monophyly of N. xanthodon was supported with respect to N. leucodon (2n = 56) in the Bayesian and maximum likelihood phylogenies. The divergence between two analyzed cytotypes of N. ehrenbergi (2n = 52, 2n = 56) was 9.4%, and the Kilis cytotype (2n = 52) appeared as the basal branch of the whole analysed dataset. N. ehrenbergi cytotypes were paraphyletic and they formed unsupported relationships with previously described N. galili (2n = 52), N. golani (2n = 54), N. carmeli (2n = 58) and N. judaei (2n = 60) from Israel. The results of this study showed that the Nannospalax species complex most likely represents more species than currently recognized, especially in N. xanthodon. We suggest that cytotypes of N. xanthodon and N. ehrenbergi from Turkey should be investigated in detail as possible candidates for being separate species.