Phylogenetic analysis of the tribe Bovini using microsatellites
The objective of the present study was to determine if the generally accepted phylogenetic relationships in the tribe Bovini correspond to a phylogenetic scheme derived from polymorphisms at 20 bovine microsatellite loci. This study comprises 17 representative populations: eight Bos taurus, two Bos indicus, one Poëphagus, one Bibos, one Bison, three Bubalus and one Syncerus. Phylogenetic analyses using (delta mu)2 and chord (DC) distances revealed substantial divergence among species. Neighbor-joining trees with both distance measures showed only minor differences. Bos taurus and Bos indicus grouped first, followed by Bos frontalis (Mithan) and Bos grunniens (Yak), Bison bison branched off next and Bubalus bubalis and Syncerus caffer emerged as the two most divergent species from the Bos clade. These findings would suggest that Bos, Poëphagus, and Bibos should be integrated into the Bos genus with each group classified as a subgenus. On the other hand, Bison, Bubalus and Syncerus should each be considered a separate genus. Direct estimates of the divergence times were calculated using the (delta mu)2 genetic distance. Bos taurus and Bos indicus were estimated to have diverged 0.31-0.82 MYA, Bos and Poëphagus: 0.57-1.53 MYA, Bos and Bibos: 0.57-1.52 MYA, Bos and Bison: 0.46-1.23 MYA, Bos and Bubalus: 1.85-4.93 MYA and Bos and Syncerus: 0.98-2.61 MYA.