Genetic diversity within a population of the southern plains woodrat was examined using DNA sequences (967 base pairs [bp]) obtained from the control or d-loop region of the mitochondrial genome. One hundred fourteen individuals from 10 collection sites were assigned to 42 haplotypes. Haplotype diversity values were moderate to high (0.974 overall and ranged from 0.524 to 0.964 across collecting sites), whereas nucleotide diversity values were low (0.008 overall and ranged from 0.001 to 0.010 across sites), indicating that this population possesses a high number of closely related haplotypes. Seventy-nine percent of the genetic variability was partitioned within groups that corresponded to the collecting sites. In addition, 13 samples from Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico were included as references for evaluating the evolutionary history of haplotypes. Nested clade analysis revealed that restricted gene flow with isolation by distance in conjunction with contiguous range expansion was responsible for the observed pattern of genetic diversity. A test of neutrality supported the diagnosis of restricted gene flow, but failed to support contiguous range expansion due solely to population growth. Examination of the spatial distribution of the haplotypes indicated that most haplotypes were restricted to a single collecting site; however, a small number of haplotypes were found at 2 or more sites. A phylogenetic analysis indicated that some haplotypes (28.6%) were restricted to the study area whereas the remaining haplotypes occupied a broader geographic region.
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