Contributions to Zoology, 77 (1) – 2008Ross Barnett; Nobuyuki Yamaguchi; Beth Shapiro; Richard Sabin: Ancient DNA analysis indicates the first English lions originated from North Africa

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Molecular phylogeny

Approximately 130bp of the mtDNA control region (HVR1) was amplified from both samples. Although the Felidae are known to contain macrosatellites (numts) resulting from nuclear translocation of the mtDNA (Cracraft et al., 1998; Lopez et al., 1997), visual comparison of the sequences obtained from the Tower lions with previously published numts and lion mitochondrial sequences clearly indicated that the Tower lion sequences were indeed mitochondrial (for details see Barnett et al., 2006a, 2006b). Median-joining network analysis clarified that both consensus clone sequences were identical to the unique haplotype of the North African Barbary lion out of the 11 distinct haplotypes previously identified in the lion (Barnett et al., 2007). The sequences obtained from the Tower lions were also distinguishable from two haplotypes that characterised lions from India and Iran, which were the next most closely related haplotypes (Barnett et al., 2006a, 2006b).