Assessment of the Phylogenetic Status of Afghan Pika (Ochotona rufescens)
Keywords:Ochotona rufescens, taxonomic position, cytb, mtDNA, Paika
Phylogenetic relationships between Afghan Pika (O. rufescens) and others in the world are still unclear. Morphological phylogeny study of the genus Ochotona by different experts showed the different taxonomic positions of the Afghan Pika, but could not determine the taxonomic position of this species. Previous phylogenetic studies based on mtDNA markers showed the different sister groups of the species. In this study, we aimed to unveil the phylogenetic relationship of the Afghan Pika, adding more specimens to the phylogenetic trees. In total, 355 different sequences relating to different pikas were retrieved from GenBank and 25 individuals from Iran were also sequenced for cytb. The phylogenetic tree revealed that samples of individuals from Northern Iran, Southern Iran and the Toulouse lab aggregate in the same clade. Results of K2P showed that the pairwise genetic distance of O. rufescens was closer to that of Conothoa subgenus than to others. It seems that the phylogenetic status of O. rufescens, is more related to the Conothoa subgenera than to Ochotona or Pika.
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