Phylogenetic relationships among 17 extant species of Murinae, with special reference to the genus Apodemus, were investigated using sequence data from the nuclear protein-coding gene IRBP (15 species) and the two mitochondrial genes cytochrome b and 12S rRNA (17 species). The analysis of the three genes does not resolve the relationships between Mus, Apodemus, and Rattus but separates Micromys from these three genera. The analysis of the two mitochondrial regions supported an association between Apodemus and Tokudaia and indicated that these two genera are more closely related to Mus than to Rattus or Micromys. Within Apodemus, the mitochondrial data sets indicated that 8 of the 9 species analyzed can be sorted into two main groups: an Apodemus group, with A. agrarius, semotus, and peninsulae, and a Sylvaemus group, with uralensis, flavicollis, alpicola, sylvaticus, and hermonensis. The position of Apodemus mystacinus is ambiguous and might be either included in Sylvaemus or considered a distinct subgenus, Karstomys, more closely related to Sylvaemus than to Apodemus. Estimation of the divergence time for these taxa suggests a separation between 7 and 8 My ago for the three groups (mystacinus and the two subgenera Apodemus and Sylvaemus). Within each subgenus, divergence times are between 5.4 and 6 My for Apodemus and between 2.2 and 3.5 My for Sylvaemus and mystacinus.
2002 Elsevier Science (USA).