Genetic species characterization of rodents of Nepal

Many members of the Rattus species have sub-species with various color patterns and they globally distributed. Many Rattus sub-species are believed to be native to India and other Indo-Malayan countries; Rattus rattus thrives in tropical regions but are thought to have been driven out to more temperate regions by Norway rats (R. norvegicus). However, some studies have shown that R. rattus might have adapted to more extreme weather conditions such as cold and harsh climate. (Grzimek et. al, 2003; Pye, Swain, and Seppelt, 1999).

CMDN in collaboration with an Australian institution has carried out molecular based species characterization (DNA Barcoding) of rats found in the Kathmandu valley. We now have a significant database on various rat species including R. rattus, R. norvegicus, R. tanezumi, R. nitidus, Mus booduga, M. musculus, Bandicota bengalensis, B. indica, Suncus murinus, S. etruscus and Crocidura fuliginosa. The information is very useful in answering many unresolved questions on rat’s genetics, ecology and population distribution.