Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at
Tue Apr 30 09:50:25 EDT 2002

A few weeks ago we had a lot of posts about subspecies.   This morning two items
caught my eye, and although non-lep, they bear on the issue of subspecies.

A Sage Sparrow paper in Auk, used the 75% rule to show that only three
subspecies (rather than 5) were diagnosable on mensural charactgers).

Somewhere more interesting, I think is the abstract on sheep, identifying two
subspecifically distinct ancestors for domestic sheep---apparently mainly on
gene sequences.

So subspecies continue to have respect among veretebrate biologists.

Mike Gochfeld

Molecular analysis of wild and domestic sheep questions current nomenclature and
provides evidence for domestication from
two different subspecies

 Stefan Hiendleder; Bernhard Kaupe; Rudolf Wassmuth; Axel Janke
 Proceeding of the The Royal Society
 Volume: 269 Number: 1494 Page: 893 -- 904

Abstract: Complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control regions (CR) were sequenced
and analysed in order to investigate wild
sheep taxonomy and the origin of domestic sheep (Ovis aries). The dataset for
phylogenetic analyses includes 63 unique CR
sequences from wild sheep of the mouflon (O. musimon, O. orientalis), urial (O.
vignei), argali (O. ammon) and bighorn (O.
canadensis) groups, and from domestic sheep of Asia, Europe and New Zealand.
Domestic sheep occurred in two clearly
separated branches with mouflon (O. musimon) mixed into one of the domestic
sheep clusters. Genetic distances and molecular
datings based on O. canadensis CR and mtDNA protein-coding sequences provide
strong evidence for domestications from two
mouflon subspecies. Other wild sheep sequences are in two additional
well-separated branches. Ovis ammon collium and O.
ammon nigrimontana are joined with a specimen from the transkaspian Ust-Urt
plateau currently named O. vignei arkal. Ovis
ammon ammon, O. ammon darwini and O. vignei bochariensis represent a separate
clade and the earliest divergence from the
mouflon group. Therefore, O. musimon, O. vignei bochariensis and Ust-Urt sheep
are not members of a 'moufloniform' or O.
orientalis species, but belong to different clades. Furthermore, Ust-Urt sheep
could be a hybrid population or an O. ammon
subspecies closely related to O. ammon nigrimontana.


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