An Estimation of Erinaceidae Phylogeny: A Combined Analysis Approach
Results of the use of the fingerprinting method related to short interspersed elements (SINEs), inter-SINE–PCR, in the study of phylogenetic and taxonomic relationship in mammals from orders Chiroptera (family Vespertilionidae) and Lipotyphla (family Erinaceidae) are reported. The inter-SINE–PCR method is based on the amplification of fragments situated between copies of SINEs, which are short retroposons spaced 100 to 1000 bp apart. Specifically selected primers were used, which are complementary to consensus sequences of two short retroposons: the mammalian interspersed repeat (MIR), which is typical of all mammals and some other vertebrates, was used in the cases of bats and Erinaceidae, and the ERI-1 element recently isolated from the genome of the Daurian hedgehog was used in the case of Erinaceidae. The results support the current view on phylogenetic relationship between hedgehogs belonging to genera Erinaceus, Hemiechinus, and Paraechinus (but not the genus Atelerix). In bats, the phylogenetic reconstruction revealed a statistically valid topology only at lower taxonomic levels, whereas the topology for the genus and supragenus ranks was unresolved and fan-shaped. The benefits and limitations of the inter-SINE–PCR method are discussed.