Biological Invasions

, Volume 11, Issue 7, pp 1521–1527 | Cite as

Mitochondrial DNA evidence for the spread of Pacific rats through Oceania

Invasive Rodents on Islands

Abstract

In the 10 years since we published our first full analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in Rattus exulans as a means for tracking human migration in Polynesia, we have extended the commensal approach through time and space with the use of ancient DNA (aDNA) and by analysing samples from across the Pacific. Not only can mtDNA phylogenies provide information regarding population origins and paths of migration, they have also provided information regarding degrees of contact and interaction between islands. An important extension of the R. exulans project is the creation and on-going development of a genetic database for the identification of Rattus species based on mtDNA sequences. The phylogenetic analysis of sequences from 18 species and 1 subspecies of Rattus thus far have raised some questions regarding species identification and species distributions in the Pacific.

Keywords

Rattus exulans Pacific prehistory Ancient DNA 

References

  1. Atkinson IAE (1985) The spread of commensal species of Rattus to oceanic islands and their effects on island fauna. In: Moors P (ed) Conservation of island birds: case studies for the management of threatened island species. Paston Press, Norwich, pp 35–81Google Scholar
  2. Barnes SS, Matisoo-Smith E, Hunt T (2006) Ancient DNA of the Pacific rat (Rattus exulans) from Rapa Nui (Easter Island). J Archaeol Sci 33:1536–1540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cunningham DM, Moors PJ (1983) A guide to the identification and collection of New Zealand Rodents. New Zealand Wildlife Service Occasional Publication No. 4. Department of Internal Affairs, WellingtonGoogle Scholar
  4. Diamond J (2005) Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed. Viking, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Hertzberg M, Mickleson KNP, Serjeantson SW, Prior JF, Trent RJ (1989) An Asian specific 9-bp deletion of mitochondrial DNA is frequently found in Polynesians. Am J Hum Genet 44:504–510PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Hill AVS, Serjeantson SJ (1989) The colonization of the Pacific: a genetic trail. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  7. Huelsenbeck JP, Ronquist F (2001) MRBAYES: bayesian inference of phylogeny. Bioinformatics 17:754–755PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hunt TL (2007) Rethinking Easter Island’s ecological catastrophe. J Archaeol Sci 34:485–502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Innes JG (1990) Ship rat. In: King CM (ed) The handbook of New Zealand mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 206–225Google Scholar
  10. Irwin GJ (1992) The prehistoric exploration and colonisation of the Pacific. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  11. IUCN (2007) 2007 IUCN redlist of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed 31 March 2008
  12. Kirch PV (2000) On the road of the winds: an archaeological history of the Pacific islands before European contact. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  13. Matisoo-Smith E (1994) The human colonisation of Polynesia. A novel approach: genetic analyses of the Polynesian rat (Rattus exulans). J Polyn Soc 103:75–87Google Scholar
  14. Matisoo-Smith E (2002) Something old, something new: do genetic studies of contemporary populations reliably represent prehistoric populations in the Pacific? Hum Biol 74(3):489–496PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Matisoo-Smith E (2007) Animal translocations, genetic variation and the human settlement of the Pacific. In: Friedlaender JS (ed) Genes, language and culture history in the Southwest Pacific, Chap. 10. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 147–157Google Scholar
  16. Matisoo-Smith E, Robins J (2004) Origins and dispersals of Pacific peoples: evidence from mtDNA phylogenies of the Pacific rat. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101(24):9167–9172PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Matisoo-Smith E, Allen JS, Ladefoged TN, Roberts RM, Lambert DM (1997) Ancient DNA from Polynesian rats: extraction, amplification and sequence from single small bones. Electrophoresis 18(9):1534–1537PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Matisoo-Smith E, Roberts RM, Allen JS, Irwin GJ, Penny D, Lambert DM (1998) Patterns of human colonisation in polynesia revealed by mitochondrial DNA from the Polynesian rat. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 95(25):15145–15150PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Matisoo-Smith E, Sutton DG, Ladefoged TN, Lambert DM, Allen JS (1999) Prehistoric mobility in Polynesia: MtDNA variation in Rattus exulans from the Chatham and Kermadec Islands. Asian Perspect 38(2):186–199Google Scholar
  20. Matisoo-Smith E, Horsburgh KA, Robins JH, Anderson AJ (2001) Genetic variation in archaeological Rattus exulans remains from Emily Bay, Norfolk Island. In: Anderson A, White P (eds) The prehistoric archaeology of Norfolk Island, Southwest Pacific. Records of the Australian Museum, supple. 27. The Australian Museum, Sydney, pp 81–84Google Scholar
  21. Musser GG, Carleton MD (2005) Family Muridae. In: Wilson DE, Reeder DM (eds) Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, pp 894–1531Google Scholar
  22. Robins JH, Hingston M, Matisoo-Smith E, Ross H (2007) Identifying Rattus species using small fragments of mitochondrial DNA: a barcoding approach. Mol Ecol Notes 7:717–729CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ross H, Lento GM, Dalebout ML et al (2003) DNA surveillance: web-based molecular identification of whales, dolphins and porpoises. J Hered 94:111–114PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Taylor JM, Calaby JH, Van Deusen HM (1982) A revision of the genus Rattus (Rodentia, Muridae) in the New Guinean region. Bull Am Mus Nat His 173:177–336Google Scholar
  25. White JP, Clark J, Bedford S (2000) Distribution, present and past, of Rattus praetor in the Pacific and its implications. Pac Sci 54(2):105–117Google Scholar
  26. Wickler S (2004) Modelling colonisation and migration in Micronesia from a zooarchaeological perspective. In: Mondini M, Munoz S, Wickler S (eds) Colonisation, migration and marginal areas: a zooarchaeological approach. Oxbow, Oxford, pp 28–41Google Scholar
  27. Yosida TH, Kato H, Tsuchiya K, Sagai T, Moriwaki K (1974) Cytogenetical survey of black rats, Rattus rattus, in Southwest and Central Asia, with special regard to the evolutional relationship between three geographical types. Chromosoma 45:99–109PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and EvolutionUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations