Genetic diversity and inferred dispersal history of the Schlegel’s Japanese Gecko (Gekko japonicus) in Northeast Asia based on population genetic analyses and paleo-species distribution modelling

Jong-Sun KIM, Jaejin PARK, Jonathan J. FONG, Yong-Pu ZHANG, Shu-Ran LI, Hidetoshi OTA, Sung-Hun MIN, Mi-Sook MIN, Daesik PARK*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)


To understand the genetic diversity and dispersal history of Schlegel’s Japanese gecko (Gekko japonicus), we performed genetic analyses and paleo-species distributional modelling. For the genetic analysis, we analyzed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) (cytochrome b [Cytb] and NADH dehydrogenase 2 [ND2]) and seven microsatellite loci of 353 individuals from 11 populations (2 east coast China, 4 west and central coast Japan and 5 Korea). For the paleo-species distribution modelling, we used 432 occurrence data points (125 China, 291 Japan and 16 Korea) over the Pleistocene and Holocene. China is inferred to be the source population, which had higher genetic diversity (mtDNA) and more private alleles (mtDNA) compared to Japanese and Korean populations. Differences between the three counties were very small in the mtDNA haplotype network despite some genetic structure among the three countries. Microsatellite analysis inferred that genetic exchange has actively occurred among the Chinese, Japanese and Korean populations. Suitable habitats in Japan should have been plentiful by the mid-Holocene, but have only recently become available in Korea. These results suggest that dispersal of G. japonicus occurred after the Holocene warming from the east coast of China to the west and central coasts of Japan and Korea, and gene flow is actively occurring among the three countries.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalMitochondrial DNA Part A: DNA Mapping, Sequencing, and Analysis
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Mar 2020


Bibliographical note

This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education [No. 2016R1D1A1B03931085] to D Park and Natural Sciences Foundation of China [No. 31971419] to YP Zhang.

The authors thank Jong-Nam Lee, Il-Kook Park, Il-Hun Kim, Woo-Jin Choi and Hwan-Jin Jang for their help in field surveys and Alejandro Grajal-Puche for helpful comments on English usage and contents.

Ethical approval:
Permits are not required for collecting G. japonicus in the three countries. Protocols and lab work in Korea (including Japanese samples) were approved by the Institutional Animal Experimental Ethics Committee (KW–1611282). For China, as tissues were not allowed to ship out the country, lab work was carried out at and approved by Wenzhou University.

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