A study on the Faroese mice
: an attempt to clarify whether the Faroese mice are Mus musculus musculus or Mus musculus domesticus, if the mice are different between the islands and the origin of the mice

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The present study is an attempt to clarify 1) whether the Faroese house mice are M. m. musculus or M. m. domesticus by using four different nuclear DNA markers, 2) whether the mice are morphologically different between the islands by doing statistical weight and tail-length tests, and 3) where they come from by doing a neighbourhood joining tree of a mtDNA marker. The study showed that the house mice on the islands Hestur, Fugloy, Mykines, and Nólsoy are M. m. domesticus, and that on Sandoy and Streymoy the mice are M. m. domesticus and hybrids between M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus.
A one-way ANOVA test was made on tail length and weight, and showed a highly significant difference between the islands, and also between the islands Hestur, Fugloy, Mykines and Nólsoy taken together, where all the mice are pure M. m. domesticus, indicating that the difference is not due to genetic differences, but an adaptation to the different islands (different habitats). A neighbourhood-joining tree showed that the mice from Sandoy clustered with mice from Norway, Britain and Ireland, and that the mice from Streymoy, Hestur, Fugloy, Mykines and Nólsoy cluster with mice from Denmark. Taking all the results together, it seems most probable that the Faroes have had two different colonisations of the house mouse: one to Sandoy of hybrids between M. m. musculus mice from Norway and M. m. domesticus mice from Britain or Ireland, and one to the other islands of M. m. domesticus from Denmark. The mice on Streymoy have since experienced gene flow because of reintroduced mice.
Date of Award2007
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Námsvísindadeildin - Faculty of Education
SupervisorEyðfinn Magnussen (Supervisor) & Jeremy B. Searle (Supervisor)

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