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Phylogeography and Pleistocene refugia of the Adder (Vipera berus) as inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequence data
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Population and Conservation Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution.
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2006 (English)In: Molecular Ecology, ISSN 0962-1083, E-ISSN 1365-294X, Vol. 15, no 11, 3425-3437 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In order to contribute to the debate about southern glacial refugia used by temperate species and more northern refugia used by boreal or cold-temperate species, we examined the phylogeography of a widespread snake species (Vipera berus) inhabiting Europe up to the Arctic Circle. The analysis of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence variation in 1043 bp of the cytochrome b gene and in 918 bp of the noncoding control region was performed with phylogenetic approaches. Our results suggest that both the duplicated control region and cytochrome b evolve at a similar rate in this species. Phylogenetic analysis showed that V. berus is divided into three major mitochondrial lineages, probably resulting from an Italian, a Balkan and a Northern (from France to Russia) refugial area in Eastern Europe, near the Carpathian Mountains. In addition, the Northern clade presents an important substructure, suggesting two sequential colonization events in Europe. First, the continent was colonized from the three main refugial areas mentioned above during the Lower-Mid Pleistocene. Second, recolonization of most of Europe most likely originated from several refugia located outside of the Mediterranean peninsulas (Carpathian region, east of the Carpathians, France and possibly Hungary) during the Mid-Late Pleistocene, while populations within the Italian and Balkan Peninsulas fluctuated only slightly in distribution range, with larger lowland populations during glacial times and with refugial mountain populations during interglacials, as in the present time. The phylogeographical structure revealed in our study suggests complex recolonization dynamics of the European continent by V. berus, characterized by latitudinal as well as altitudinal range shifts, driven by both climatic changes and competition with related species.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 15, no 11, 3425-3437 p.
Keyword [en]
colonization history, mitochondrial DNA, molecular phylogeography, snake, Vipera berus
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-90578DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2006.03031.xISI: 000240440800024PubMedID: 16968280OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-90578DiVA: diva2:162978
Available from: 2003-05-12 Created: 2003-05-12 Last updated: 2011-06-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Phylogeography of the Adder, Vipera berus
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Phylogeography of the Adder, Vipera berus
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The phylogeography of a wide ranging temperate species, the adder, Vipera berus, was investigated using several genetic tools, with special emphasis on the post-glacial colonisation pattern of Fennoscandia. The area was colonised from two directions by adder populations representing different glacial refugia. The two populations meet in three places and the main contact zone is situated in Northern Finland. The two other contact zones are the result of dispersal across the Baltic Sea to the Umeå archepelago and South-Western Finland. Asymmetrically distributed nuclear genetic variation compared to mitochondrial DNA in the northern contact zone suggests a skewed gene flow from the east to the west across the zone. This pattern might reflect differences in dispersal among sexes and lineages, or may be accounted for by a selective advantage for nuclear variation of eastern origin among Fennoscandian adders.

The phylogeographic pattern for adders across the entire species range was addressed by sequencing part of the mitochondrial genome and scoring microsatellite markers. The adder can be divided into three major genetic groups. One group is confined to the Balkan peninsula harbouring the distribution range of V. b. bosniensis. A second, well differentiated group is restricted to the Southern Alps. These two areas have probably served as refugia for adders during a number of ice ages for the adders. The third group is distributed across the remainder of the species’ range, from extreme Western Europe to Pacific Russia and can be further divided into one ancestral group inhabiting the Carpathians refugial area, and three more recent groups inhabiting areas west, north and east of the Alps. The adder provides an example of a species where the Mediterranean areas are housing endemic populations, rather than the sources for post-glacial continental colonisation. Continent-wide colonisation has instead occurred from up to three cryptic northern refugia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2003. 32 p.
Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1104-232X ; 849
Genetics, Phylogeography, Vipera, adders, mtDNA, microsatellites, RAPDs, Genetik
National Category
Medical Genetics
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-3477 (URN)91-554-5656-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2003-06-06, Ekmansakes, EBC, Uppsala, 13:15
Available from: 2003-05-12 Created: 2003-05-12Bibliographically approved

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