Lack of Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Divergence between Two Subspecies of the Siberian Weasel from Korea: Mustela sibirica coreanus from the Korean Peninsula and M. s. quelpartis from Jeju Island

  • Koh, Hung-Sun (Department of Biology, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Jang, Kyung-Hee (Department of Biology, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Oh, Jang-Geun (Research Center of Environment) ;
  • Han, Eui-Dong (Department of Biology, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Jo, Jae-Eun (Department of Biology, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Ham, Eui-Jeong (Department of Biology, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Jeong, Seon-Ki (Department of Biology, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Lee, Jong-Hyek (Department of Biology, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Kim, Kwang-Seon (Department of Biology, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • Kweon, Gu-Hee (Department of Biology, Chungbuk National University) ;
  • In, Seong-Teak (Department of Biology, Chungbuk National University)
  • Received : 2012.01.20
  • Accepted : 2012.03.16
  • Published : 2012.04.30


The objective of this study was to determine the degree of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) divergence between two subspecies of $Mustela$ $sibirica$ from Korea ($M.$ $s.$ $coreanus$ on the Korean Peninsula and ($M.$ $s.$ $quelpartis$ on Jeju Island) and to examine the taxonomic status of ($M.$ $s.$ $quelpartis$. Thus, we obtained complete sequences of mtDNA cytochrome $b$ gene (1,140 bp) from the two subspecies, and these sequences were compared to a corresponding haplotype of ($M.$ $s.$ $coreanus$, downloaded from GenBank. From this analysis, it was observed that the sequences from monogenic ($M.$ $s.$ $quelpartis$ on Jeju Island were identical to the sequences of four ($M.$ $s.$ $coreanus$from four locations across the Korean Peninsula, and that the two subspecies formed a single clade; the average nucleotide distance between the two subspecies was 0.26% (range, 0.00 to 0.53%). We found that the subspecies $quelpartis$ is not genetically distinct from the subspecies $coreanus$, and that this cytochrome $b$ sequencing result does not support the current classification, distinguishing these two subspecies by pelage color. Further systematic analyses using morphometric characters and other DNA markers are necessary to confirm the taxonomic status of ($M.$ $s.$ $quelpartis$.


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