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Heckeberg, Nicola S.; Erpenbeck, Dirk; Wörheide, Gert ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6380-7421 and Rößner, Gertrud E. (2016): Systematic relationships of five newly sequenced cervid species. In: PeerJ, Vol. 4, e2307 [PDF, 1MB]

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Cervid phylogenetics has been puzzling researchers for over 150 years. In recent decades, molecular systematics has provided new input for both the support and revision of the previous results from comparative anatomy but has led to only partial consensus. Despite all of the efforts to reach taxon-wide species sampling over the last two decades, a number of cervid species still lack molecular data because they are difficult to access in the wild. By extracting ancient DNA from museum specimens, in this study, we obtained partial mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences for Mazama bricenii, Mazama chunyi, Muntiacus atherodes, Pudu mephistophiles, and Rusa marianna, including three holotypes. These new sequences were used to enrich the existing mitochondrial DNA alignments and yielded the most taxonomically complete data set for cervids to date. Phylogenetic analyses provide new insights into the evolutionary history of these five species. However, systematic uncertainties within Muntiacus persist and resolving phylogenetic relationships within Pudu and Mazama remain challenging.

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