Pika and vole mitochondrial genomes increase support for both rodent monophyly and glires

Gene. 2002 Jul 10;294(1-2):119-29. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(02)00695-9.


Complete mitochondrial genomes are reported for a pika (Ochotona collaris) and a vole (Volemys kikuchii) then analysed together with 35 other mitochondrial genomes from mammals. With standard phylogenetic methods the pika joins with the other lagomorph (rabbit) and the vole with the other murid rodents (rat and mouse). In addition, with hedgehog excluded, the seven rodent genomes consistently form a homogeneous group in the unrooted placental tree. Except for uncertainty of the position of tree shrew, the clade Glires (monophyletic rodents plus lagomorphs) is consistently found. The unrooted tree obtained by ProtML (Protein Maximum Likelihood, a program in MOLPHY) is compatible with a reclassification of mammals [Syst. Biol. 48, 1-5 (1999)] which is also supported by other recent studies. However, when this tree is rooted with marsupials plus platypus, the outgroup often joins the lineage leading to the three murid rodents, so the rodents are no longer monophyletic. Apart from misplacing the root, the presence of the outgroups also distorts other parts of the unrooted tree. Either constraining the tree to maintain rodents monophyletic, or omitting murids, maintains the ingroup tree and sees the outgroup join on the edge to Xenarthra, to Afrotheria, or to these two groups together. This emphasises the importance of carrying out both an unrooted and a rooted analysis. It is known from cancer research that murid rodents have reduced activity in some DNA repair mechanisms and this alters their substitution pattern - this may be the case for mitochnodrial DNA as well. Comparing nucleotide compositions may identify taxa that differ in aspects of their DNA repair mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arvicolinae / classification
  • Arvicolinae / genetics*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / chemistry
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Lagomorpha / classification
  • Lagomorpha / genetics*
  • Mammals / classification
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Phylogeny*
  • Probability
  • Rodentia / classification
  • Rodentia / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Mitochondrial

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF348080
  • GENBANK/AF348082