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Etheostoma; Animal population genetics; Natural history


Hylogeography, or the historical interpretation of population genetic data, is a useful tool for addressing historical processes like the colonization history of organisms. North American freshwater fishes have experienced glacial ebb and flow in their relatively recent past (as little as 10,000 years before present in Minnesota), and studies of variation in intraspecific DNA sequences of these fishes can shed light on their radiations into previously glaciated areas. This study assessed intraspecific variation in two mitochondrial genes of the banded darter (Etheostoma zonale) from seven Minnesota localities. A high degree of similarity was found among all individuals in the study. This finding prevented phytogeographic analysis, but it is informative about other historical factors, such as the significance of population bottlenecks during colonization.

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