Genomic DNA libraries were prepared from two endemic species of Lake Victoria haplochromine (cichlid) fish and used to isolate and characterize a set of short interspersed elements (SINEs). The distribution and sequences of the SINEs were used to infer phylogenetic relationships among East African haplochromines. The SINE-based classification divides the fish into four groups, which, in order of their divergence from a stem lineage, are the endemic Lake Tanganyika flock (group 1); fish of the nonendemic, monotypic, widely distributed genus Astatoreochromis (group 2); the endemic Lake Malawi flock (group 3); and group 4, which contains fish from widely dispersed East African localities including Lakes Victoria, Edward, George, Albert, and Rukwa, as well as many rivers. The group 4 haplochromines are characterized by a subset of polymorphic SINEs, each of which is present in some individuals and absent in others of the same population at a given locality, the same morphologically defined species, and the same mtDNA-defined haplogroup. SINE-defined group 4 contains six of the seven previously described mtDNA haplogroups. One of the polymorphic SINEs appears to be fixed in the endemic Lake Victoria flock; four others display the presence-or-absence polymorphism within the species of this flock. These findings have implications for the origin of Lake Victoria cichlids and for their founding population sizes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology