Molecular phylogenetic relationships were investigated in 6 species of Chinchillidae (Chinchilla lanigera, C. brevicaudata, Lagidium peruanum, L. viscacia, L. wolffsohni, and Lagostomus maximus), 1 species of Dinomyidae (Dinomys branickii), 1 of Abrocomidae (Abrocoma cinerea), and 1 of Octodontidae (Octodon degus) using the first 548 base pairs of the mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene. Maximum-parsimony and maximum-likelihood analyses consistently showed Chinchillidae as a robust clade and confirmed a close relationship with Dinomyidae. Both Chinchilla species differed at 22 sites, and 3 were nonsilent; average genetic distances were approximately 6%. Sequences from domestic C. lanigera and wild C. brevicaudata showed low levels of variation. Although all topologies obtained were congruent with current taxonomy, Lagidium exhibited large genetic distances (range 5.9–8.9%), suggesting the existence of more than the 3 species currently recognized.
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