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Mitochondrial phylogeography of Rana (Pelophylax) populations in the Eastern Mediterranean region

TitleMitochondrial phylogeography of Rana (Pelophylax) populations in the Eastern Mediterranean region
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsLymberakis, P, Poulakakis N, Manthalou G, Tsigenopoulos CS, Magoulas A, Mylonas M
JournalMol Phylogenet Evol
Keywords*Phylogeny, Animals, Cytochrome b Group/genetics, DNA, Mitochondrial/*genetics, Geography, Mediterranean Region, Molecular Sequence Data, Ranidae/classification/*genetics, RNA, Ribosomal, 16S/genetics, Sequence Analysis, DNA

Phylogenetic relationships in the western fraction of Rana (Pelophylax) have not been resolved till now, even though several works have been devoted to the subject. Here, we infer phylogenetic relationships among the species distributed in the area of the Eastern Mediterranean, comparing partial mitochondrial DNA sequences for the cytochrome b and 16S rRNA genes. The obtained molecular data clearly indicate that Western Palearctic water frogs underwent a basal radiation into at least 3 major lineages (the perezi, the lessonae, and the rindibunda/bedriagae lineages) advocating an upper Miocene speciation. Moreover, we consider that within the rindibunda/bedriagae lineage, R. (P.) ridibunda, R. (P.) epeirotica, R. (P.) cretensis, R. (P.) bedriagae, R. (P.) cerigensis and R. (P.) kurtmuelleri were differentiated from a common ancestor through a series of vicariant and dispersal events, during the last approximately 5Mya, even though the specific rank of some taxa may be questionable, such as R. cerigensis in respect with R. bedriagae and R. kurtmuelleri in respect with R. ridibunda.