Phylogeography of Kangaroo Micefrom the Mono Lake Region.
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Among the many genera of the North American rodents the Kangaroo Mouse (Genus Microdipodops ) remains poorly studied at both the ecological and evolutionary level.Two congeneric species Microdipodops megacephalus and Microdipodops pallidus are restricted in distribution to the Great Basin desert region of Nevada. The focus of our interest lies in determining the phylogeographic relationships of selected populations of both species, that is, to determine what effect geographical changes of the Great Basin area have had on creating genetic diversity among Kangaroo Mouse populations.Besides the previous morphological examination of the chromosomal karyotypes and the electrophoretic protein analysis, we are currently focusing our studies on genetic variability in the mitochondrial DNA ( mtDNA ). We have designed specific primers for regions of mtDNA.Amplification and sequencing of these regions provide us with potential insight into intrapopulational variability. Although unable to amplify the D-loop region, we successfully amplified the 16S site and with corresponding sequence alignments we were able to construct a partial parsimony tree. Future research involves creating rodent specific D-loop primers, collecting individuals from regions of the Great Basin area other than ones introduced in our project and gathering more data of potential microsatellite markers which are to be used for subsequent phylogeographic studies of the genus Microdipodops .