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First molecular evidence for reassessing phylogenetic affinities between genets (Genetta) and the enigmatic genet-like taxa Osbornictis, Poiana and Prionodon (Carnivora, Viverridae)

Abstract : The subfamily Viverrinae is a composite group of carnivores comprising the large and plantigrade terrestrial civets (Civettictis, Viverricula and Viverra) and the slender and generally more arboreal genets and genet-like taxa (Genetta, Prionodon, Poiana, Osbornictis), both having Asiatic and African representatives. The problematic phylogenetic relationships between genets and genet-like taxa are addressed for the first time from a molecular perspective through complete cytochrome b gene sequences. We used a large taxonomic sample set including some very rare and crucial species such as Osbornictis piscivora, Poiana richardsonii (museum specimen material) and Genetta johnstoni. The results from parsimony, distance and maximum likelihood analyses do not support the monophyly of the Viverrinae and contradict previous morphological hypotheses. The Asiatic linsangs (Prionodon spp.) are excluded from the Viverrinae and represent either a basal Feliformia or Viverridae. The other genet-like taxa constitute a strongly supported monophyletic African group, in which the African linsang (represented by Poiana richardsonii) is a sister group to the genets. The aquatic genet Osbornictis piscivora is included within the latter clade, and the genus Osbornictis should be considered a junior synonym of Genetta. African and Asiatic terrestrial civets are monophyletic, but their phylogenetic affinities with the genet-like clade are inconclusive using our data set. On the basis of our molecular results, morphological convergences and adaptations to peculiar habitats and ways of life within genets and genet-like taxa are discussed.
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Submitted on : Monday, July 18, 2016 - 1:24:52 PM
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Philippe Gaubert, Michel Tranier, Anne-Sophie Delmas, Marc Colyn, Geraldine Veron. First molecular evidence for reassessing phylogenetic affinities between genets (Genetta) and the enigmatic genet-like taxa Osbornictis, Poiana and Prionodon (Carnivora, Viverridae). Zoologica Scripta, Wiley, 2004, 33 (2), ⟨10.1111/j.1463-6409.2004.00140.x⟩. ⟨hal-01346122⟩

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