Phylogeographical lineages of Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) in North America: divergence, origins and affinities with Eurasian Thymallus.Mol Ecol. 2004 Jun; 13(6):1533-49.ME
The number and location of Arctic glacial refugia utilized by taxa during the Pleistocene are continuing uncertainties in Holarctic phylogeography. Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) are widely distributed in freshwaters from the eastern side of Hudson Bay (Canada) west to central Asia. We studied mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and microsatellite DNA variation in North American T. arcticus to test for genetic signatures of survival in, and postglacial dispersal from, multiple glacial refugia, and to assess their evolutionary affinities with Eurasian Thymallus. In samples from 32 localities, we resolved 12 mtDNA haplotypes belonging to three assemblages that differed from each other in sequence by between 0.75 and 2.13%: a 'South Beringia' lineage found from western Alaska to northern British Columbia, Canada; a 'North Beringia' lineage found on the north slope of Alaska, the lower Mackenzie River, and to eastern Saskatchewan; and a 'Nahanni' lineage confined to the Nahanni River area of the upper Mackenzie River drainage. Sequence analysis of a portion of the control region indicated monophyly of all North American T. arcticus and their probable origin from eastern Siberian T. arcticus at least 3 Mya. Arctic grayling sampled from 25 localities displayed low allelic diversity and expected heterozygosity (H(E)) across five microsatellite loci (means of 2.1 alleles and 0.27 H(E), respectively) and there were declines in these measures of genetic diversity with distance eastward from the lower Yukon River Valley. Assemblages defined by mtDNA divergences were less apparent at microsatellite loci, but again the Nahanni lineage was the most distinctive. Analysis of molecular variance indicated that between 24% (microsatellite DNA) and 81% (mtDNA) of the variance was attributable to differences among South Beringia, North Beringia and Nahanni lineages. Our data suggest that extant North American Arctic grayling are more diverse phylogeographically than previously suspected and that they consist of at least three major lineages that originated in distinct Pleistocene glacial refugia. T. arcticus probably originated and dispersed from Eurasia to North America in the late to mid-Pliocene, but our data also suggest more recent (mid-late Pleistocene) interactions between lineages across Beringia.