We reconstructed the demographic history of the plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae) on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau by using genetic variation data obtained from spatially distributed populations across much of the plateau. We obtained sequence data, including cob (1,140 bp) and D-loop sequences (732 bp), from 144 individuals at sites ranging from the high-altitude interior to the relatively low-altitude northeastern plateau, and identified 37 and 42 unique haplotypes, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis and haplotype networks based on the individual and the combined datasets of cob and D-loop sequences clustered all populations into four well-supported major groups, and the interaction between vicariance, dispersal, and habitat fragmentation resulted in the current geographical distribution and genetic diversity of O. curzoniae on the plateau. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) and mismatch distribution suggested that the recent continuous uplifts of the plateau contributed to the radiation and diversification of the O. curzoniae populations occurring there.
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Vol. 29 • No. 8