Phylogeography of Kangaroo Micefrom the Mono Lake Region.
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Among many genera of the North American rodents the Kangaroo Mouse (Genus Microdipodops ) remains poorly studied at both the ecological and evolutionary level. Two species are distinguished Microdipodops megacephalus and Microdipodops pallidus . which are restricted in distribution to the Great Basin desert region of Nevada.The focus of our interest lies in determining phylogeographic relationships among many populations of both species, that is, to determine what effect geographical changes of the Great Basin area have had on creating 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). Designing different primers specific for certain 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 coming phylogeographic studies of the genus Microdipodops .