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|Holocene Changes in the Distributions of Asian and European Badgers (Carnivora: Mustelidae: Meles) Inferred from Ancient DNA Analysis
Kosintsev, P. A.
Abramov, A. V.
Solovyev, V. A.
Saveljev, A. P.
|Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press (OUP)
|Holocene Changes in the Distributions of Asian and European Badgers (Carnivora: Mustelidae: Meles) Inferred from Ancient DNA Analysis / E. Kinoshita, P. A. Kosintsev, A. V. Abramov et al. // Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. — 2020. — Vol. 129. — Iss. 3. — P. 594-602.
|Although the present-day distributional boundary between the European badger (Meles meles) and the Asian badger (Meles leucurus) is around the Volga River, studies of ancient bone remains have indicated changes in the distribution of M. meles and M. leucurus in the Urals-Volga region during the Holocene. To examine past changes in distribution using genetic data, changes in genetic diversity, and the relationships of Holocene to modern populations, we sequenced ~150 bp of the mitochondrial DNA control region from the 44 ancient badger remains excavated from European Russian, Ural and Western Siberian sites, and we detected 12 haplotypes. Our study revealed Holocene changes in the distributional boundary between these badger species. Meles meles inhabited the Ural Mountains east of the Volga River in the Early Holocene, whereas M. leucurus expanded its distribution westwards, starting ~2500 years ago. Thereafter, M. leucurus rapidly replaced M. meles in the region between the Urals and the Volga, resulting in the present-day boundary in the Volga-Kama region. Among the 12 haplotypes detected, three for M. leucurus and four for M. meles were identical to partial sequences of haplotypes detected in modern populations, indicating considerable genetic continuity between Holocene and modern populations. © 2020 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.
|We thank Dr Irina Kirillova for providing the badger samples from Tver Province; the Museum of the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences for providing specimens; and Dr Mathew Dick for invaluable comments and English editing of the manuscript. We also thank three anonymous reviewers for their helpful input. The study was supported, in part, by a Joint Research Project Grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR nos 19-54-50001 and 18-04-009820), Zoological Institute program no. AAAA-A19-119032590102-7, the Program of Russian Academy of Sciences «Biodiversity» and a grant from the Joint Research Program, Japan Arctic Research Network Center. The authors have no conflicts of interest associated with this manuscript.
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