Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 150, Issue 2, pp 357–367 | Cite as

Use of mitochondrial and nuclear genes to infer the origin of two endemic pigeons from the Canary Islands

  • Javier Gonzalez
  • Guillermo Delgado Castro
  • Eduardo Garcia-del-Rey
  • Carola Berger
  • Michael Wink
Original Article


DNA nucleotide sequences from two mitochondrial genes (cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2) and the nuclear intron 7 of β-fibrinogen were obtained to infer the phylogenetic origin of the two endemic Canarian pigeons: Bolle’s Pigeon (Columba bollii) and Laurel Pigeon (C. junoniae). Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear genes based on maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference all converged into a congruent topology: C. bollii clusters together with the Wood Pigeon (C. palumbus) which is common in Europe and Asia, while C. junoniae was found near the base of the clade that includes other species of the genus Columba from the Old World. Laurel Pigeon probably represents an old lineage that might have colonized the Canary Islands a long time ago (20 My) while Bolle’s Pigeon might have arrived on the archipelago much later during the Upper Miocene (5 My).


Columba Mitochondrial DNA β-Fibrinogen intron 7 Phylogeny Canary Islands 



Gobierno de Canarias and the Cabildo Insular of Tenerife, La Palma and La Gomera authorized the collection of biological samples which was partly funded by the Sociedad Ornitológica Canaria (SOC). Dr. J. Nadal and Dr. M. Alayón Barrera kindly provided valuable samples of Columba palumbus, C. oenas, C. arquatrix, and C. guinea. J. Leal helped with the field work on La Palma. We thank Prof. Dr. H. Bock (Managing Director of IWR) and S. Friedel for access to parallel computing facilities at the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR, Heidelberg University). Thanks to H. Sauer-Gürth for valuable technical assistance in our laboratory. Dr. C. Dietzen kindly translated the abstract into German and provided valuable literature and comments. Our American colleague T.C.H. Cole, J. Díaz de Castro and an anonymous referee kindly provided valuable comments and advice to improve this manuscript. All experiments comply with the current laws of Germany, Spain, and Portugal.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Gonzalez
    • 1
  • Guillermo Delgado Castro
    • 2
  • Eduardo Garcia-del-Rey
    • 3
  • Carola Berger
    • 1
  • Michael Wink
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Pharmazie und Molekulare BiotechnologieRuprecht-Karls-Universität HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Museo de Ciencias Naturales, Organismo Autónomo de Museos y CentrosCalle Ramón y Cajal, Edificio SalesianosSanta Cruz de TenerifeSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de BiologíaUniversidad de La LagunaTenerifeSpain

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