Resolution of recent radiations within three evolutionary lineages of felidae using mitochondrial restriction fragment length polymorphism variation
Patterns of mitochondrial restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) variation were used to resolve more recent relationships among the species of the Felidae ocelot lineage, domestic cat lineage, and pantherine lineage. Twenty-five of 28 restriction enzymes revealed site variation in at least 1 of 21 cat species. The ocelot lineage was resolved into three separate sistertaxa groups: Geoffroy's cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi) and kodkod (O. guigna), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) and margay (L. wiedii), and pampas cat (Lynchailurus colocolo) and most of the tigrina samples (Leopardus tigrina). Within the domestic cat lineage, domestic cat (Felis catus), European wild cat (F. silvestris), and African wild cat (F. libyca) formed a monophyletic trichotomy, which was joined with sand cat (F. margarita) to a common ancestor. Jungle cat (F. chaus) and black-footed cat (F. nigripes) mtDNAs diverged earlier than those of the other domestic cat lineage species and are less closely related. Within the pantherine lineage, phylogenetic analysis identified two distinct groups, uniting lion (P. leo) with leopard (P. pardus) and tiger (P. tigris) with snow leopard (P. uncia).