Mitochondrial DNA (CYTB) divergences in two distinct, Old World and New World Barn Owls

Document Type : Research articles


Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran


The Barn Owl, Tyto alba (Scopoli, 1769), occurs worldwide and shows a considerable
amount of morphological and geographical variation, leading to the recognition of many
subspecies around the world. Yet comprehensive study on this species needs to be done.
Data from mitochondrial gene (CYTB) with 620bp length is analyzed for 30 individuals
around the world. Maximum likelihood (ML), maximum parsimony (MP) and bayesian
analysis showed considerable genetic variation between alba clade (Old World) and furcata
clade (New World). The amounts of genetic variation within each of these clades are in
ranges from 0.4%-1.6% but variation between clades is 7.21%. This data may suggest that
Barn Owls of the Old World were a separate species from those of the New World. We
found high amount of genetic variation between T. a. stertens from Indonesia and alba
clade and we didn’t find any support for recognition of T. bargei as a separate species.