Temporal, spatial, and ecological modes of evolution of Eurasian Mus based on mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences

Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2004 Dec;33(3):626-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2004.08.003.


We sequenced mitochondrial (cytochrome b, 12S rRNA) and nuclear (IRBP, RAG1) genes for 17 species of the Old World murine genus Mus, drawn primarily from the Eurasian subgenus Mus. Phylogenetic analysis of the newly and previously available sequences support recognition of four subgenera within Mus (Mus, Coelomys, Nannomys, and Pyromys), with an unresolved basal polytomy. Our data further indicate that the subgenus Mus contains three distinct 'species groups': (1) a Mus booduga Species Group, also including Mus terricolor and Mus fragilicauda (probably also Mus famulus); (2) a Mus cervicolor Species Group, also including Mus caroli and Mus cookii; and (3) a Mus musculus Species Group, also including Mus macedonicus, Mus spicilegus, and Mus spretus. Species diversity in Eurasian Mus is probably explicable in terms of several phases of range expansion and vicariance, and by a propensity within the group to undergo biotope transitions. IRBP and RAG1 molecular clocks for Mus date the origin of subgenera to around 5-6 mya and the origin of Species Groups within subgenus Mus to around 2-3 mya. The temporal pattern of evolution among Eurasian Mus is more complex than that within the Eurasian temperate genus Apodemus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics*
  • Cytochromes b / genetics
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Ecology
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Geography
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Mice
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Species Specificity
  • Time Factors


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • RAG-1 protein
  • Cytochromes b