One hundred DNA sequences from the mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene of 44 species of deer mice (Peromyscus (sensu stricto), 1 of Habromys, 1 of Isthmomys, 2 of Megadontomys, and the monotypic genera Neotomodon, Osgoodomys, and Podomys were used to develop a molecular phylogeny for Peromyscus. Phylogenetic analyses (maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian inference) were conducted to evaluate alternative hypotheses concerning taxonomic arrangements (sensu stricto versus sensu lato) of the genus. In all analyses, monophyletic clades were obtained that corresponded to species groups proposed by previous authors; however, relationships among species groups generally were poorly resolved. The concept of the genus Peromyscus based on molecular data differed significantly from the most current taxonomic arrangement. Maximum-likelihood and Bayesian trees depicted strong support for a clade placing Habromys, Megadontomys, Neotomodon, Osgoodomys, and Podomys within Peromyscus. If Habromys, Megadontomys, Neotomodon, Osgoodomys, and Podomys are regarded as genera, then several species groups within Peromyscus (sensu stricto) should be elevated to generic rank. Isthmomys was associated with the genus Reithrodontomys; in turn this clade was sister to Baiomys, indicating a distant relationship of Isthmomys to Peromyscus. A formal taxonomic revision awaits synthesis of additional sequence data from nuclear markers together with inclusion of available allozymic and karyotypic data.
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