Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 46-53

First online:

Structure and Evolution of the Mitochondrial DNA Complete Control Region in the Lizard Lacerta dugesii (Lacertidae, Sauria)

  • António BrehmAffiliated withUniversity of Madeira, Campus da Penteada
  • , D. James HarrisAffiliated withICETA-UP, Campus Agrario de Vairão
  • , Cíntia AlvesAffiliated withIPATIMUP, University of Porto
  • , José JesusAffiliated withUniversity of Madeira, Campus da Penteada
  • , Fabienne ThomaratAffiliated withLaboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, Université Lyon I
  • , Luís VicenteAffiliated withScience, Faculty of Lisbon, University of Lisbon

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We sequenced the complete control region (CR) and adjacent tRNAs, partial 12S rRNA, and cytochrome b (over 3100 bp) from eight individuals of Madeiran wall lizards, Lacerta dugesii, from four distinct island populations. The tRNAs exhibit a high degree of intraspecific polymorphisms compared to other vertebrates. All CR sequences include a minisatellite that varies in length between populations but is apparently fixed within them. Variation in minisatellite length appears between populations separated by apparently very short evolutionary time spans. Many motifs identified in the CR of other vertebrates are not highly conserved, although conserved blocks are identifiable between the few published reptile CR sequences. Overall there are extensive differences in the internal organization of the reptile CR compared to the more widely studied mammals and birds. Variability in the CR is lower than in cytochrome b, but higher than in 12S rRNA. Phylogenetic analysis of these sequences produces a well-resolved estimate of relationships between populations.

Lacerta dugesii Control region D-Loop Structure Madeira tRNAThr tRNAPro tRNAPhe