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Phylogenetic analysis of the distribution of chromosomal races of Mus musculus domesticus Rutty in Europe

Biological journal of the Linnean Society 1990 v.41 no.1-3 pp. 171-192
Mus musculus, ancestry, chromosome translocation, chromosomes, introgression, phylogeny, probability, races, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Scotland, Spain
Robertsonian (Rb) translocation is a common chromosomal rearrangement in the house mouse. In free-living populations, 79 fusions with different combinations of chromosomes 1 to 18 have been found in some 45 populations. An updated list of these fusions is presented and analysed in order to reveal the possible processes by which the fusions spread within or among populations. A widespread hypothesis is that when two populations share the same fusion, it can be assumed that they have a common ancestor. This can serve as the basis for the use of the cladistic methods. While I present such an analysis on the updated list of Rbs, I also point to the problems associated with it in this case because many fusions have multiple origins and exchanges of Rbs between populations are frequent. I have tried to use a different approach, based on a critical and quantitative evaluation of the hypothesis of common ancestry. Assuming that the 153 possible fusions have an equal probability of occurrence, I give the formula to compute the probability that populations share a given number of fusions by chance alone. Only when this probability is lower than a chosen level (say 5%) can the populations be inferred to have a non-independent origin (i.e. they have a common ancestor or they have exchanged chromosomes by introgression). This probability measure is then used as a distance estimate to show the relationship between all the Rb populations. This analysis suggests that although some Rbs must have occurred more than once, most of the populations have non-independent origins. Almost all the populations from northern Africa to Belgium and Germany appear to have close karyotopic relationships and form a major group. Clearly independent Rb populations are mainly found in the periphery of this major group, for example in Scotland, Denmark and Spain. ‘Chromosomal' flow between Rb populations appears to be a very important process.