Genetic evidence confirms the origin of the house mouse on sub-Antarctic Marion Island

Bettine Jansen Van Vuuren, Steven L. Chown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Biological invasions and climate change are two of the largest threats to biodiversity, and this is especially true for island ecosystems that have largely evolved in isolation. The house mouse is considered to have been introduced to sub-Antarctic Marion Island by sealers in the early 1800s. It is currently widespread across the island and has a large impact on the indigenous biota. To date, little information is available on genetic aspects of biological invasions in the sub-Antarctic. Ten specimens of the house mouse were collected from two geographically separated localities on Marion Island. Sequences of the mitochondrial DNA control region revealed only two haplotypes, separated by a single site change. More importantly, these haplotypes are shared between the eastern and western side of Marion Island. By comparing our sequences to data available on GenBank, we provide evidence that house mice on Marion Island is Mus musculus domesticus (Rutty 1772), and most closely related to haplotypes characterizing this species from Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and northern Germany.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-332
Number of pages6
JournalPolar Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Biological invasion
  • Marion Island
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Mus musculus

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