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Molecular Phylogenetics of Saw-scaled Viper (Echis carinatus) from Pakistan

Molecular Phylogenetics of Saw-scaled Viper (Echis carinatus) from Pakistan

Muhammad Rizwan Ashraf1, Asif Nadeem1,2, Eric Nelson Smith3, Maryam Javed1, Utpal Smart3, Tahir Yaqub4, Abu Saeed Hashmi1 and Panupong Thammachoti3

1Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan
2Virtual University of Pakistan, Lahore
3Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center and Department of Biology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019, USA
4Department of Microbiology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore

*      Corresponding author: asifnadeem@uvas.edu.pk

ABSTRACT

Snakes are one of the most dangerous animals with over 40 species of venomous snakes found in Pakistan. One such group of snakes belongs to genus Echis is saw scaled viper (Ehcis carinatus). Molecular techniques have made it easy to elucidate phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary histories of different groups of organisms. This study is the first attempt to find the phylogenetic relationship and diversity through mitochondrial genes in saw-scaled viper from Pakistan. Tail tip biopsies of Saw-scaled vipers were used for amplification of mitochondrial genes fragments (ND4, 16S rRNA and 12S rRNA) through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Nucleotide data was used for DNA polymorphism analyses and homology was measured among different species of genus Echis. Using the concatenated nucleotide data, Maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic trees were constructed that divided all Echis species into four groups. Saw-scaled viper in this study from Pakistan showed similarity and close relationship with Western India and UAE while showing difference from South Indian. Saw-scaled viper from South India is termed as Echis carinatus carinatus while that from Pakistan and Western India is Echis carinatus sochureki. More morphological and molecular studies are required to raise both the subspecies to separate species.
 

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

October

Vol. 52, Iss. 5, Pages 1631-2026

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