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Genic variation systematic and bio geographic relationships of some galliform birds

, : Genic variation systematic and bio geographic relationships of some galliform birds. Auk 100(1): 33-47

Starch gel electrophoresis was used to evaluate levels and patterns of genic differentiation among 10 spp. of galliform birds in the Phasianidae (9) and Tetraonidae (1). The phasianids included an Old World quail, a partridge, a pheasant and 6 spp. of New World quail. Measures of within-species genetic variation included heterozygosity, percentage polymorphic loci, and number of alleles per polymorphic locus. These values were similar to but lower than those reported for other birds. Genetic distances among conspecific populations and among congeneric species were low compared to other avian results. Genetic distances among noncongeners both within and between families were considerably higher, however, than those reported for passerine birds. Phenograms and phylogenetic trees suggested that Phasianus colchicus, Tympanuchus pallidicinctus, Coturnix coturnix, Alectoris chukar and the New World quail (Odontophorinae) are genically distinct taxa. The branching sequence among the non-Odontophorine taxa is unresolved. The branching order among taxa in the Odontophorinae from a common ancestor is: Cyrtonyx montezumae, Oreortyx pictus, Colinus virginianus, Callipepla squamata, Lophortyx gambelii and L. californicus. The genera Cyrtonyx, Oreortyx, and Colinus are clearly distinct from Callipepla and Lophortyx, which are quite similar to each other genically. A fossil species from the mid-Miocene of Nebraska was used to calibrate genetic distances. Dates of divergence of taxa were estimated in the Odontophorinae and a hypothesis offered on their historical biogeography. Three east-west range disjunctions could account for the origin of Oreortyx (12.6 MY[million years]BP), Colinus (7.0 MYBP) and Callipepla-Lophortyx (2.8 MYBP). L. californicus and L. gambelii should be considered distinct species because of an apparent lack of panmixia in zones of sympatry, even though the D [genetic distance] between them is typical of that found between subspecies of other birds. Oreortyx and Colinus should remain as distinct genera; the data are equivocal on the status of Callipepla and Lophortyx.

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