Multilocus Characterization of a Woodrat (GenusNeotoma) Hybrid Zone

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Abstract

In order to investigate hybridization between 2 species of woodrats, Neotoma floridana and Neotoma micropus, 103 specimens were collected, in March of 1988, from a known area of sympatry, and compared with reference collections from areas of allopatry. Ten genetic markers, consisting of 7 microsatellite loci, 1 mitochondrial gene (cytochrome-b [Cytb]), and 2 nuclear introns (intron 2 of the vertebrate alcohol dehydrogenase gene [Adh1-I2] and intron 7 of the beta-fibrinogen gene [Fgb-I7]) were used to develop a composite genotype for each individual and for detection of hybridization. Six individuals were identified as pure parental N. micropus, 96 as hybrids, and 1 as pure parental N. floridana. Hybrids were formed primarily through matings between complex genotypes, resulting in a high prevalence of individuals classified as backcrosses. The ratio of hybrid classes, population substructure, and presence of significant linkage disequilibrium within the zone of contact could not reject either the hybrid superiority or hybrid equilibrium model as responsible for maintenance of this hybrid zone. The collection date of this dataset (1988) provided not only a point in time assessment of the hybrid zone but also provided opportunities for future comparisons of temporal datasets with the purpose of examining hybrid zone characteristics over multiple generations.

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