Simultaneous Morphological and Molecular Characterization of Tatera indica in Southwestern Iran
AbstractBackground: Interest in Tatera indica rodent arises mostly because it is believed that this species is survived among four subspecies reported from Iran, two of which exist in Khuzestan Province. In addition, it might has a role as reservoir hosts of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis in the transmission of Leishmania major in some of the widespread Asian foci including southwestern Iran.Methods: Diagnostic morphological and molecular markers for T. indica were sought by characterizing from individual specimens, such as some taxonomic features and mitochondrial cytochrome b gene that had previously proven useful for the taxonomy of rodents. Wild rodents were caught using live wooden and wire traps. The specimens were identified morphologically using external criteria and molecularly by sequencing of Cyt b gene and phylogenetic analyses. Results: Forty one T. indica were collected and identified morphologically in Khuzestan Province, Iran. Two morphotypes of T. indica were found and classified but sequencing and phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial Cyt b gene did not support any subspecies between two morphotypes of T. indica. Because all 21 sequences of both morphotypes of T. indica had no variation with only one common and novel haplotype (GenBank accession No KP001566).Conclusion: This is the first time that T. indica was characterized molecularly in Iran. There is no molecular evidence for T. indica morphotypes or subspecies, and so a population genetics approach using several polymorphic genes might be employed using species-specific molecular markers. In addition, more specimens of T. indica species in large geographical locations should be tested.
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