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Genetic Diversity, Population Structure and Demographic History of Brandt and Long Eared Hedgehogs in Iran

Genetic Diversity, Population Structure and Demographic History of Brandt and Long Eared Hedgehogs in Iran

Ehsan Kashani1, Hamid Reza Rezaei2*, Morteza Naderi3 and Nematolah Khorasani4

 

1Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University P.O. Box 14515-775, Tehran, Iran
2Department of Environment, Faculty of Fisheries and Environmental Science, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Iran
3Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arak University, Arak, Iran

*      Corresponding author: rezaei@gau.ac.ir

ABSTRACT

Knowledge about the genetic diversity of the mammalian species and their plasticity in ever-changing environments is emphasized by scientists and conservation biologists. Central deserts and steppes of Iran host a different kind of insectivores like hedgehogs; however, their ecology and genetic properties are rarely documented. For species of hedgehogs that are included in the subfamily Erinaceinae, at least four known species are listed for Iran. Brandt’s (Paraechinus hypomelas) and Long-eared (Hemiechinus auritus) hedgehogs were two candidates in which we tried to investigate their molecular peculiarities in central steppes and deserts of Iran. Mitochondrial evidence indicates rapid population expansion and bottleneck event for both species during the past. Phylogenetic analysis successfully grouped the specimens in two distinct clades without any common haplotypes. Long-eared specimens grouped in two distinct phylogenetic groups which belong to two different geographic areas while for P. hypomelas no significant divergence happened in the species life history.
 

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

June

Vol. 53, Iss. 3, Pages 801-1200

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