Estimation of the Subspecific Level of Differentiation in Caucasian Lizards of the Genus Darevskia (Syn. «Lacerta saxicola complex», Lacertidae, Sauria) Using Genome DNA Markers

N. L. Ryabinina, A. A. Bannikova, S. A. Kosushkin, D. G. Ciobanu, K. D. Milto, B. S. Tuniyev, V. F. Orlova, V. V. Grechko, I. S. Darevsky


The taxonomic categories such as population and subspecies were studied on the example of three Caucasian lizard species of genus DarevskiaD. praticola, D. derjugini, and D. rudis by comparing the morphological data and results inferred from nuclear DNA markers. RAPD and new inter-MIR-PCR (IM-PCR) methods were used. The IM-PCR was used to characterize the lacertid DNA fragments located between dispersed SINE type repeats which occurred to be ortologous to mammalian repeats of the same type. It was shown that separation of the Northern population of D. derjugini (subspecies silvatica) is supported by the comparison with two Southern populations (derjugini and barani). The latter ones, in their turn, are very similar and hardly can be considered as good subspecies by the genetic distance. The subspecific division of D. praticola (praticola and pontica) also requires more specification. For example, several populations from North Caucasus (ssp. praticola) occurred to be heterogeneous. The level of differences between ssp. praticola and pontica is of the same order as in some of the praticola populations. Low level of molecular differences between two subspecies of D. rudis (obscura and bischoffi) does not confirm their validity as a full subspecies.


lizard; Lacertidae; Darevskia; systematics; RAPD; inter-MIR-PCR method; population; subspecies; species

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