Research Article

Detection of two morphologically cryptic species from the cursor complex (Akodon spp; Rodentia, Cricetidae) through the use of RAPD markers

Published: November 22, 2011
Genet. Mol. Res. 10 (4) : 2881-2892 DOI: 10.4238/2011.November.22.2

Abstract

The cursor complex is a group within the Akodon genus of South American rodents, formed by Akodon cursor and A. montensis. Correct distinction between these two species is of great importance since they can harbor different Hantavirus strains. These species are only distinguishable by means of karyotypic or internal anatomic features, requiring dissection; recently, some other genetic methods have become available. We developed RAPD markers capable of distinguishing between A. cursor and A. montensis. Samples included 42 individuals of A. cursor from four localities and 16 individuals of A. montensis from two localities. Fifty-five bands, 41 of which were polymorphic, were analyzed. A principal component analysis showed that this set of markers could successfully distinguish between the two species, mainly based on three RAPD bands. The number of bands in each population was compared within a 95% confidence interval as a measure of intraspecific variability. The A. cursor populations were found to have marked genetic structure across the study area (AMOVA; FST = 0.21), which in part might be because of the relatively limited dispersal capabilities of this species. Species-specific bands, with potential for species identification, were identified.

The cursor complex is a group within the Akodon genus of South American rodents, formed by Akodon cursor and A. montensis. Correct distinction between these two species is of great importance since they can harbor different Hantavirus strains. These species are only distinguishable by means of karyotypic or internal anatomic features, requiring dissection; recently, some other genetic methods have become available. We developed RAPD markers capable of distinguishing between A. cursor and A. montensis. Samples included 42 individuals of A. cursor from four localities and 16 individuals of A. montensis from two localities. Fifty-five bands, 41 of which were polymorphic, were analyzed. A principal component analysis showed that this set of markers could successfully distinguish between the two species, mainly based on three RAPD bands. The number of bands in each population was compared within a 95% confidence interval as a measure of intraspecific variability. The A. cursor populations were found to have marked genetic structure across the study area (AMOVA; FST = 0.21), which in part might be because of the relatively limited dispersal capabilities of this species. Species-specific bands, with potential for species identification, were identified.