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Multiple Pleistocene refugia and post‐glacial colonization in the European chub (Squalius cephalus) revealed by combined use of nuclear and mitochondrial markers
Aim To analyse patterns of nuclear and mitochondrial genetic variation in the European chub, Squalius cephalus (Linnaeus, 1758), in order to understand the evolutionary history of this species and to test biogeographical
hypotheses for the existence of co‐distributed European freshwater fish species.
Location Rivers in Europe (Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, France, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy).
Methods We genotyped 12 polymorphic microsatellite markers derived from 310 individuals
collected from across the distribution of S. cephalus in Europe (including a total of 15 populations) and sequenced mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from a subset of 75 individuals. Sequences of mtDNA cytochrome b were analysed using both phylogenetic (median‐joining networks)
and population genetic methods (tests for demographic history, mismatch distributions, Bayesian coalescent analysis). Geographical structure in microsatellite loci was examined using a distance method (F
ST), factorial correspondence analysis (FCA) and a Bayesian clustering
Results The mtDNA network showed a clear split into four different haplogroup lineages: Western (separated into Atlantic and Danubian sublineages), Eastern, Aegean (occurring in two distinct sublineages in the Balkans and in Spain) and
Adriatic. Our results indicate recent population expansion in the Eastern and Western Atlantic lineages and the admixture of two previously separate sublineages (Atlantic and Danubian) in the Western lineage. Bayesian structure analysis as well as FCA results roughly corresponded to the mtDNA‐based
structure, separating the sampled individuals into almost non‐overlapping groups.
Main conclusions Our results support hypotheses suggesting origins of extant lineages of freshwater fishes in multiple refugia and the subsequent post‐glacial colonization of Europe
via different routes. We confirmed the previously proposed two‐step expansion scenario from the Danube refuge, the existence of a secondary (Atlantic) refuge during the last glaciation (probably in the Rhone River) and population expansion of this lineage. Conspicuous divergences among
Mediterranean populations reflect their different origin, as well as their low contribution to the recent genetic pool of chub in central Europe.
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