Buoyant density profiles of high-molecular-weight DNAs sedimented in CsCl gradients, i.e., compositional distributions of 50- to 100-kb genomic fragments, have revealed a clear difference between the murids so far studied and most other mammals, including other rodents. Sequence analyses have revealed other, related, compositional differences between murids and nonmurids. In the present study, we obtained CsCl profiles of 17 rodent species representing 13 families. The modal buoyant densities obtained for rodents span the full range of values observed in other eutherians. More remarkably, the skewness (asymmetry, mean - modal buoyant density) of the rodent profiles extends to values well below those of other eutherians. Scatterplots of these and related CsCl profile parameters show groups of rodent families that agree largely with established rodent taxonomy, in particular with the monophyly of the Geomyoidea superfamily and the position of the Dipodidae family within the Myomorpha. In contrast, while confirming and extending previously reported differences between the profiles of Myomorpha and those of other rodents, the CsCl data question a traditional hypothesis positing Gliridae within Myomorpha, as does the recently sequenced mitochondrial genome of dormouse. Analysis of CsCl profiles is presented here as a rapid, robust method for exploring rodent and other vertebrate systematics. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology