Journal of Mammalian Evolution

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 221–245

MtDNA Evidence for Repeated Pulses of Speciation Within Arvicoline and Murid Rodents

  • Chris J. Conroy
  • Joseph A. Cook

DOI: 10.1023/A:1020561623890

Cite this article as:
Conroy, C.J. & Cook, J.A. Journal of Mammalian Evolution (1999) 6: 221. doi:10.1023/A:1020561623890


We examined temporal aspects of phylogenetic relationships among 5 murid rodent subfamilies and 11 arvicoline genera based on DNA sequences of the cytochrome b gene (n = 92) and ND4 gene (n = 17). We found monophyly for Muridae but a polytomy among murid subfamilies. Arvicolinae was monophyletic, but most genera within this subfamily arose from a polytomy. Microtus was monophyletic, but within the genus, species arose rapidly. This pattern of nested pulses (polytomies) was recovered across parsimony, distance, and likelihood methods and indicates that accumulation of taxonomic diversity in murids was sporadic, rather than gradual. Arvicolines appeared in the Late Miocene and diversified later, between 3 and 5 million years ago. A relatively high rate of sequence evolution (i.e., 2.3% in third-position transversions per million years) helps reconcile the diversification of fossils and mtDNA lineages.

vole murids parsimony likelihood molecular clock 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris J. Conroy
    • 1
  • Joseph A. Cook
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Alaska Museum and Institute of Arctic BiologyFairbanksAlaska
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesStanford UniversityStanford

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