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Genetic variation and population divergence in the Plethodon vandykei species group

, : Genetic variation and population divergence in the Plethodon vandykei species group. Herpetologica 49(2): 238-247

Genetic variation was investigated in the Plethodon vandykei species group by examination of 24 presumptive enzyme loci from nine populations in western Washington (USA) northern Rocky Mountains. Eight loci were polymorphic in at least one population. Mean heterozygosities varied from 0.00-0.04. Nei's genetic distances between populations varied from 0.00-0.37. Samples from the Olympic Mountains and Willapa Hills in western Washington were virtually identical at 24 loci. Samples from the Cascade Mountains were differentiated from the coastal Washington samples by a mean genetic distance of 0.14. Populations from the Rocky Mountains were separated from the Cascade Mountain and coastal Washington samoples by mean genetic distances of 0.29 and 0.33, respectively. These data suggest long term isolation and divergence of populations in the Rocky Mountains from related forms in western Washington. Based on our analysis, we recommend recognition of the Rocky Mountain populations of this complex as Plethodon idahoensis.


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