Variations in ribosomal DNA and mitochondrial DNA among chromosomal species of subterranean mole rats

Hitoshi Suzuki, Shigeharu Wakana, Hiromichi Yonekawa, Kazuo Moriwaki, Susumu Sakurai, Eviatar Nevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Restriction site variations in nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) spacers and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) were examined in several populations of mole rats with variable numbers of chromosomes, which represented the two superspecies Spalax leucodon (2n = 38, 54, or 62) and Spalax ehrenbergi (2n = 52, 54, 58, or 60). Sequence divergence of rDNA spacers between the members of the superspecies was approximately 8%, while the variation within each superspecies was 4% on average. The intrasuperspecies differentiation of rDNA spacers was generally associated with changes in the diploid number of chromosomes. However, substantial divergence (approximately 1.5%) was also detected among populations with the same diploid number of chromosomes. The sequence divergence of mtDNA among haplotypes of S. ehrenbergi was 10% or higher and among haplotypes of S. leucodon it was approximately 12%. By contrast, the range of sequence divergence between superspecies was 7.4%- 12%. The large divergence of mtDNAs within each superspecies of mole rats may be explained by the preservation of ancient mtDNA polymorphisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996


  • Spalax
  • mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)
  • mole rats
  • restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP)
  • ribosomal DNA (rDNA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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