Phylogenetic relationships among Malagasy lemurs as revealed by mitochondrial DNA sequence analysis

M. Del Pero, S. Crovella, P. Cervella, G. Ardito, Y. Rumpler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Systematics and evolution of Malagasy lemurs has been analyzed using morphological characters, fossil evidence, ecological/ethological data, and chromosomal banding patterns. Recent developments in DNA technology have provided evolutionary biologists with additional and powerful tools for making phylogenetic inference. In the last years several studies concerning highly repeated DNA sequences (hrDNA) provided new insights about the systematic relationships among the different species of Lemuridae and Cheirogaleidae. Here, a reconstruction of molecular phylogeny of extant Malagasy lemurs based on the comparison of cytochrome-b mitochondrial DNA sequences is presented. With the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and direct sequencing of amplified DNA fragments, both the phylogenetic range and resolving power of comparative analysis can be extended. These techniques allow to gather sequence data useful to evaluate the pattern of molecular evolution offering opportunities for phylogenetic purposes. A 290-bp fragment of cytochrome-b gene has been amplified and sequenced from the following species:Tupaia glis, Galago alleni, Daubentonia madagascariensis, Indri indri, Varecia variegata, Eulemur fulvus, Eulemur coronatus, Eulemur rubriventer, Eulemur mongoz, Eulemur macaco, Lemur catta, and Hapalemur griseus griseus. The phylogenetic trees obtained show the relationships among the Eulemur species and confirm the karyological and hrDNA results of a separated clade for L. catta/Hapalemur. The separation of Varecia variegata from the other genus of the family Lemuridae is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-440
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1995


  • Lemuridae
  • Malagasy lemurs
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Phylogenetic trees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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