Fellow travellers: a concordance of colonization patterns between mice and men

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Fellow travellers: a concordance of colonization patterns between mice and men

Post by Chilloutarea Mousery on Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:44 pm

Fellow travellers: a concordance of colonization patterns between mice and men in the North Atlantic region



House mice (Mus musculus) are commensals of humans and therefore their phylogeography can reflect human colonization and settlement patterns. Previous studies have linked the distribution of house mouse mitochondrial (mt) DNA clades to areas formerly occupied by the Norwegian Vikings in Norway and the British Isles. Norwegian Viking activity also extended further westwards in the North Atlantic with the settlement of Iceland, short-lived colonies in Greenland and a fleeting colony in Newfoundland in 1000 AD. Jones et al. investigated whether house mouse mtDNA sequences reflect human history in these other regions as well.

Results: House mice samples from Iceland, whether from archaeological Viking Age material or from modern-day specimens, had an identical mtDNA haplotype to the clade previously linked with Norwegian Vikings. From mtDNA and microsatellite data, the modern-day Icelandic mice also share the low genetic diversity shown by their human hosts on Iceland. Viking Age mice from Greenland had an mtDNA haplotype deriving from the Icelandic haplotype, but the modern-day Greenlandic mice belong to an entirely different mtDNA clade. The modern day Icelandic and Newfoundland mice belong to the subspecies M. m. domesticus, the Greenlandic mice to M. m. musculus.

Conclusions: In the North Atlantic region, human settlement history over a thousand years is reflected remarkably by the mtDNA phylogeny of house mice. In Iceland, the mtDNA data show the arrival and continuity of the house mouse population to the present day, while in Greenland the data suggest the arrival, subsequent extinction and recolonization of house mice - in both places mirroring the history of the European human host populations. If house mice arrived in Newfoundland with the Viking settlers at all, then, like the humans, their presence was also fleeting and left no genetic trace. The continuity of mtDNA haplotype in Iceland over 1000 years illustrates that mtDNA can retain the signature of the ancestral house mouse founders. Jones et al. also show that, in terms of genetic variability, house mouse populations may also track their host human populations.



Have a look to the interesting fulltext:

Excerpt from Open Access Article Jones et al., BMC Evolutionary Biology 2012, 12:35.
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/12/35

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Re: Fellow travellers: a concordance of colonization patterns between mice and men

Post by lunalady on Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:24 pm

What the Heck is This!!!!! LOL

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Re: Fellow travellers: a concordance of colonization patterns between mice and men

Post by Mrs. Beach on Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:44 pm

Roland, brainy as ever! That's a very interesting way of viewing human history of civilization, through mouse DNA!
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Re: Fellow travellers: a concordance of colonization patterns between mice and men

Post by doganddisc on Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:37 pm

That IS interesting. Amazing how so much of human history is tied into the animals around us, and yet that aspect of our history is so frequently ignored. Thank you for sharing this!
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Re: Fellow travellers: a concordance of colonization patterns between mice and men

Post by Mrs. Beach on Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:26 pm

Oh, we humans think we are so great because we have big brains and can think and speak and often forget that we are an integral part of the natural world. This is a way cool reminder!
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Re: Fellow travellers: a concordance of colonization patterns between mice and men

Post by doganddisc on Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:29 pm

Mrs. Beach wrote:Oh, we humans think we are so great because we have big brains and can think and speak and often forget that we are an integral part of the natural world. This is a way cool reminder!

Here here!
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Re: Fellow travellers: a concordance of colonization patterns between mice and men

Post by kawmice on Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:11 am

VERY interrestingly indeed! Thanks for sharing Roland!
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