Morphological variation in house mice from the Robertsonian polymorphism area of Barcelona

Maria Assumpció Sans-Fuentes, Jacint Ventura, María José López-Fuster, Marco Corti

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Morphometric variation in the Robertsonian polymorphism zone of Barcelona of Mus musculus domesticus was studied by geometric morphometrics. This system is characterized by populations of reduced diploid number (2n = 27-39) surrounded by standard populations (2n = 40). We investigated the morphological variation in mice from this area, as well as the effect of geographical distance and karyotype on this variation. We also investigated the degree of co-variation between the two functional units of the mandible to explore the origin of this system (primary intergradation or secondary contact). The size and shape of the cranium, mandible and scapula were analysed for 226 specimens grouped by population, chromosome number and structural heterozygosity. Size was estimated as the centroid size, and shape was estimated after Procrustes superimposition. No significant differences in size between populations or chromosomal groups were detected. Diploid number, structural heterozygosity and local geographical isolation contributed to the differentiation in shape. Morphological differentiation between standard mice and Robertsonian specimens was observed, suggesting genetic isolation between these groups. Co-variation between the ascending ramus and alveolar region of the mandible was quantified by the trace correlation between landmark subsets of these modules. The trace values showed an ascending trend, correlated with the distance from the centre of the polymorphism area, a pattern consistent with a primary intergradation scenario. © 2009 The Linnean Society of London.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-570
JournalBiological Journal of the Linnean Society
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009


  • Co-variation
  • Geometric morphometrics
  • Morphological variation
  • Mus domesticus
  • Primary intergradation
  • Robertsonian fusion


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