Multiple geographic origins of commensalism and complex dispersal history of black rats

Show simple item record Aplin, Ken P. Suzuki, Hitoshi Chinen, Alejandro A. Chesser, R. Terry Have, Jose ten Donnellan, Stephen C. Austin, Jeremy Frost, Angela Gonzalez, Jean-Paul Herbreteau, Vincent Francois, Catzeflis Soubrier, Julien Fang, Yin-Ping Robins, Judith Matisoo-Smith, Elizabeth Bastos, Armanda D.S. Maryanto, Ibnu Sinaga, Martua H. Denys, Christiane Van Den Bussche, Ronald A. Conroy, Chris Rowe, Kevin Cooper, Alan 2011-11-28T07:28:27Z 2011-11-28T07:28:27Z 2011-11-02
dc.description.abstract The Black Rat (Rattus rattus) spread out of Asia to become one of the world’s worst agricultural and urban pests, and a reservoir or vector of numerous zoonotic diseases, including the devastating plague. Despite the global scale and inestimable cost of their impacts on both human livelihoods and natural ecosystems, little is known of the global genetic diversity of Black Rats, the timing and directions of their historical dispersals, and the risks associated with contemporary movements. We surveyed mitochondrial DNA of Black Rats collected across their global range as a first step towards obtaining an historical genetic perspective on this socioeconomically important group of rodents. We found a strong phylogeographic pattern with well-differentiated lineages of Black Rats native to South Asia, the Himalayan region, southern Indochina, and northern Indochina to East Asia, and a diversification that probably commenced in the early Middle Pleistocene. We also identified two other currently recognised species of Rattus as potential derivatives of a paraphyletic R. rattus. Three of the four phylogenetic lineage units within R. rattus show clear genetic signatures of major population expansion in prehistoric times, and the distribution of particular haplogroups mirrors archaeologically and historically documented patterns of human dispersal and trade. Commensalism clearly arose multiple times in R. rattus and in widely separated geographic regions, and this may account for apparent regionalism in their associated pathogens. Our findings represent an important step towards deeper understanding the complex and influential relationship that has developed between Black Rats and humans, and invite a thorough re-examination of host-pathogen associations among Black Rats. en
dc.description.librarian ab2012 en
dc.description.sponsorship Funding support that allowed KA and AF to collect samples in Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia was provided by Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR - ( and AusAID (, funding agencies of the Australian Government. Collecting by KA in Bangladesh was supported by Department for International Development(DfID) grants through the Poverty Elimination through Rice Research Assistance and Crop Protection Programme programmes. Y-PF was supported by grants from the National Science Council ( and the Council of Agriculture (, Republic of China. AB was supported by DFID (project number R8190) and the European Commission’s INCO-DEV programme (ICA4-CT2002-10056: Ratzooman - CD’s collecting in Guinea was supported by the European Commission’s INCO-DEV programme (project ‘TREATCONTROL’). en
dc.description.uri en
dc.identifier.citation Aplin KP, Suzuki H, Chinen AA, Chesser RT, ten Have J, et al. (2011) Multiple Geographic Origins of Commensalism and Complex Dispersal History of Black Rats. PLoS ONE 6(11): e26357. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026357 en
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203
dc.identifier.other 10.1371/journal.pone.0026357
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en
dc.rights © 2011 Aplin et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. en
dc.subject Commensalism en
dc.subject Black rats en
dc.subject Historical dispersals en
dc.subject.lcsh Rats en
dc.subject.lcsh Rattus rattus en
dc.subject.lcsh Urban pests en
dc.subject.lcsh Zoonoses en
dc.title Multiple geographic origins of commensalism and complex dispersal history of black rats en
dc.type Article en

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