New Paper in Scientific Reports


Phylogeny and evolution of the genus Cervus (Cervidae, Mammalia) as revealed by complete mitochondrial genomes.

Mackiewicz P, Matosiuk M, Świsłocka M, Zachos FE et al. 2022.
Sci Rep 12, 16381 (2022). Published online 30 September 2022


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages are recognized as important components of intra- and interspecific biodiversity, and allow to reveal colonization routes and phylogeographic structure of many taxa. Among these is the genus Cervus that is widely distributed across the Holarctic. We obtained sequences of complete mitochondrial genomes from 13 Cervus taxa and included them in global phylogenetic analyses of 71 Cervinae mitogenomes. The well-resolved phylogenetic trees confirmed Cervus to be monophyletic. Molecular dating based on several fossil calibration points revealed that ca. 2.6 Mya two main mitochondrial lineages of Cervus separated in Central Asia, the Western (including C. hanglu and C. elaphus) and the Eastern (comprising C. albirostris, C. canadensis and C. nippon). We also observed convergent changes in the composition of some mitochondrial genes in C. hanglu of the Western lineage and representatives of the Eastern lineage. Several subspecies of C. nippon and C. hanglu have accumulated a large portion of deleterious substitutions in their mitochondrial protein-coding genes, probably due to drift in the wake of decreasing population size. In contrast to previous studies, we found that the relic haplogroup B of C. elaphus was sister to all other red deer lineages and that the Middle-Eastern haplogroup E shared a common ancestor with the Balkan haplogroup C. Comparison of the mtDNA phylogenetic tree with a published nuclear genome tree may imply ancient introgressions of mtDNA between different Cervus species as well as from the common ancestor of South Asian deer, Rusa timorensis and R. unicolor, to the Cervus clade.