A recent analysis of DNA sequences of hamsters, in the rodent subfamily Cricetinae (family Cricetidae, superfamily Muroidea), generated a significant phylogenetic restructuring among the genera Tscherkia, Cricetus, Allocricetulus and Cricetulus.
The subfamily Cricetinae is currently composed of seven genera: Allocricetulus, Cansumys, Cricetulus, Cricetus, Mesocricetus, Phodopus, and Tscherskia, with a total of eighteen species (Musser and Carleton 2005).
Most notable was the formation of a clade consisting of Tscherskia triton, Cricetulus migratorius, Cricetus cricetus, and Allocricetulus eversmanni that branches off from a clade consisting of other Cricetulus species.
DNA for the hamster species Cricetulus sokolovi (Sokolov's hamster), Cricetulus barabensis (striped dwarf hamster), Cricetulus longicaudatus (long-tailed dwarf hamster), Cricetulus pseudogriseus (Transbaikal hamster), Cricetulus migratorius (gray dwarf hamster), Cricetus cricetus (black-bellied hamster) and Allocricetulus eversmanni (Eversmann's hamster) were generously supplied by Dr.
The species Cricetulus sokolovi, Cricetulus barabensis, Cricetulus longicaudatus, Cricetulus pseudogriseus, and Cricetulus griseus were found to contain a B2 element within loci X96664, X96549, and AY188393 (Table 2).
These 6 species diverge into 3 genera, mainly Cricetulus (including Armenian and Chinese), Phodopus (including Djungarian and Siberian), and Mesocricetus (including Turkish and Syrian) hamster species (Figure 1).
Although Chinese and Armenian hamsters each belong to the genus Cricetulus, after inoculation with 263K, their incubation periods differed from each other and from those of all the other species.
These characteristics, which included incubation periods, PrPres glycoform patterns, and PrPres distribution in brain, appeared to segregate into related genera with the exception of the genus Cricetulus (Armenian and Chinese hamsters).
These polymorphic changes could explain why Armenian and Chinese hamsters have such different incubation periods, PrPres glycoform patterns, and immunohistochemical profiles from each other as well as from the 2 genera Cricetulus and Phodopus.