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Journal: Cytogenetic and genome research


The independent evolution of heteromorphic sex chromosomes in 19 species from 4 families of flowering plants permits studying X/Y divergence after the initial recombination suppression. Here, we document autosome/Y divergence in the tropical Cucurbitaceae Coccinia grandis, which is ca. 3 myr old. Karyotyping and C-value measurements show that the C. grandis Y chromosome has twice the size of any of the other chromosomes, with a male/female C-value difference of 0.094 pg or 10% of the total genome. FISH staining revealed 5S and 45S rDNA sites on autosomes but not on the Y chromosome, making it unlikely that rDNA contributed to the elongation of the Y chromosome; recent end-to-end fusion also seems unlikely given the lack of interstitial telomeric signals. GISH with different concentrations of female blocking DNA detected a possible pseudo-autosomal region on the Y chromosome, and C-banding suggests that the entire Y chromosome in C. grandis is heterochromatic. During meiosis, there is an end-to-end connection between the X and the Y chromosome, but the X does not otherwise differ from the remaining chromosomes. These findings and a review of plants with heteromorphic sex chromosomes reveal no relationship between species age and degree of sex chromosome dimorphism. Its relatively small genome size (0.943 pg/2C in males), large Y chromosome, and phylogenetic proximity to the fully sequenced Cucumis sativus make C. grandis a promising model to study sex chromosome evolution.

Concepts: DNA, Human, Male, Eukaryote, Chromosome, Sex, Cytogenetics, Cucurbitaceae


Iberian Leuciscinae have been used in many studies as models to explore topics such as hybridization, allopolyploidy, modes of reproduction, and evolution. This article focuses on the contribution of cytogenomics to foster research in this group of cyprinid fish. Conventional and molecular banding results were reviewed, facilitating comparative analysis between nase and chub taxa inhabiting Portuguese freshwaters. Hybridization is known to occur within both Chondrostoma s.l. and Squalius genera although polyploidy has only been reported in the latter; the reasons behind such differential genome flexibility remain unidentified. FISH tools allowed recognizing additional chromosome markers, confirming NOR polymorphism and distinguishing species and their hybrids. Recombination and genome instability were detected in homoploid and polyploid hybrid genomes supporting active NOR transposition. However, the multiplication of rDNAs in these species does not seem to be associated with Rex3 retroelement, though hybrids were not surveyed. CGH and GISH allowed reaffirming the hybrid origin of S. alburnoides and confirming that the conservative karyotype patterns within Iberian leuciscines are restricted to the macrostructure. Current data also support the usefulness of mapping repetitive DNAs, especially for nonmodel compact genomes with less variable karyotypes and sequence data resources unavailable, like in many cyprinid lineages. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cell nucleus, Species, Chromosome, Cytogenetics, Polyploidy, Cyprinidae


Small supernumerary marker chromosomes (sSMC) are structurally abnormal chromosomes, generally equal in size or smaller than a chromosome 20 of the same metaphase spread. Most of them are unexpectedly detected in routine karyotype analyses, and it is usually not easy to correlate them with a specific clinical picture. A small group of sSMCs is derived from more than one chromosome, called complex sSMCs. Here, we report on a patient with a de novo complex sSMC, derived from chromosomes 8 and 14. Banding karyotype analysis, multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA), single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based array, and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) were performed to investigate its origin. Array and FISH analyses revealed a der(14)t(8;14)(p23.2;q22.1)dn. The propositus presents some clinical features commonly found in patients with partial duplication or triplication of 8p and 14q. This is the first report describing a patient with a congenital der(14)t(8;14)(p23.2;q22.1)dn sSMC.

Concepts: DNA, Molecular biology, Chromosome, Cell cycle, Cytogenetics, Chromosomes, In situ hybridization, Small supernumerary marker chromosome


Reciprocal translocations represent one of the most common structural chromosomal rearrangements observed in both humans and domestic animals. In these translocations, the balanced forms are most frequent but may remain undetected because the carriers show a normal phenotype. For this reason, routine cytogenetic analysis of domestic animals should necessarily rely on banded karyotypes. In fact, during a screening analysis, carried out on phenotypically normal young sheep (Ovis aries, OAR, 2n = 54) from Laticauda-Comisana hybrids, a new structural rearrangement was detected. Two abnormal acrocentric chromosomes (the smallest and the largest one) were found in all metaphases of this carrier animal, suggesting the presence of a reciprocal translocation (rcp). CBA and RBA banding were performed in order to characterize the translocation, and FISH with chromosome-specific BAC probes and telomere probes was applied to confirm the cytogenetic data. The translocation was classified as rcp(4q;12q)(q13;q25).

Concepts: Chromosome, Cytogenetics, Chromosomes, Chromosomal translocation, Aneuploidy, Chronic myelogenous leukemia, Domestic sheep, Karyotype


Somatic mosaicism is present in slightly more than 50% of small supernumerary marker chromosome (sSMC) carriers. Interestingly, non-acrocentric derived sSMC show mosaicism much more frequently than acrocentric ones. sSMC can be present in different mosaic rates, which may go below 5% of the studied cells. Also cryptic mosaicism can be present and mosaics may be differently expressed in different tissues of the body. Even though in the overwhelming majority of the cases somatic sSMC mosaicism has no direct clinical effect, there are also cases with altered clinical outcomes due to mosaicism. Also clinically important is the fact that a de novo sSMC, even present in mosaic, may be a hint of uniparental disomy (UPD). As it is under discussion to possibly replace standard karyotyping by methods like array-CGH, the impracticality of the latter to detect low-level sSMC mosaics and/or UPD has to be considered as well. Overall, sSMC mosaicism has to be studied carefully in each individual case, as it can be extremely informative and of importance, especially for prenatal genetic counseling.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Chromosome, Cytogenetics, Chromosomes, Aneuploidy, Y chromosome, Small supernumerary marker chromosome


Sites and amounts of 5-methylcytosine (5-MeC)-rich chromosome regions were detected in the karyotypes of 9 Brazilian species of Characiformes fishes by indirect immunofluorescence using a monoclonal anti-5-MeC antibody. These species, belonging to the genera Leporinus, Triportheus and Hoplias, are characterized by highly differentiated and heteromorphic ZW and XY sex chromosomes. In all species, the hypermethylated regions are confined to constitutive heterochromatin. The number and chromosome locations of hypermethylated heterochromatic regions in the karyotypes are constant and species-specific. Generally, heterochromatic regions that are darkly stained by the C-banding technique are distinctly hypermethylated, but several of the brightly fluorescing hypermethylated regions merely exhibit moderate or faint C-banding. The ZW and XY sex chromosomes of all 9 analyzed species also show species-specific heterochromatin hypermethylation patterns. The analysis of 5-MeC-rich chromosome regions contributes valuable data for comparative cytogenetics of closely related species and highlights the dynamic process of differentiation operating in the repetitive DNA fraction of sex chromosomes.

Concepts: DNA, Cell nucleus, Eukaryote, Species, Chromosome, Cytogenetics, Y chromosome, XY sex-determination system


The pairing behaviour of the individual chromosome arms of Hordeum vulgare (Hv) with their homoeologous arms of H. bulbosum (Hb) at metaphase I of meiosis in tetraploid Hb × Hv hybrids and the frequencies of recombined Hv chromosome arms in selfed offspring were studied on differentially visualized chromosomes after fluorescent in situ hybridisation. The frequencies of paired Hv-Hb arms in the F2 and F3 hybrids were correlated with the frequencies of recombined Hv chromosomes in progenies. Self-generation of hybrids, the number of Hv and Hb chromosomes, and the number of recombined Hv chromosomes of the hybrids strongly influenced the Hv-Hb pairing frequency in meiosis. Within the offspring of F2 and F3 hybrids both Hv plants and hybrids were detected. In contrast, all progenies of the F4 hybrid were hybrids which exhibited centromere misdivisions. The highest frequencies of homoeologous pairing in hybrids and most recombinants were obtained for the barley chromosome 1HL. Recombinants for 4HL, 5HS, 6HS, and 7HS were rarely found. Meiotic pairing and recombinants involving chromosome 1HS were never observed. The results of this study demonstrate that fertile tetraploid interspecific hybrids with a high intergenomic pairing at meiosis are valuable basic material for introgression breeding in barley.

Concepts: Eukaryote, Chromosome, Cell cycle, Centromere, Mitosis, Meiosis, Polyploidy, Chromatid


Oculodentodigital dysplasia (ODDD) is a rare condition characterized by a typical facial appearance and variable findings of the eyes, teeth, and fingers. ODDD is caused by mutations in the GJA1 gene in chromosome 6q22 and inherited in an autosomal dominant manner in the majority of the patients. However, in recent clinical reports, autosomal recessive ODDD cases due to by GJA1 mutations were also described. Here, we report on a 14-year-old boy with microphthalmia, microcornea, narrow nasal bridge, hypoplastic alae nasi, prominent columnella, hypodontia, dental caries, and partial syndactyly of the 2nd and 3rd toes. These clinical findings were concordant with the diagnosis of ODDD, and a novel homozygous mutation (c.442C>T, p.Arg148Ter) was determined in the GJA1 gene leading to a premature stop codon. His phenotypically normal parents were found to be carriers of the same mutation. This is the third family in the literature in which ODDD segregates in an autosomal recessive manner.


Transposable elements (TE) constitute one of the most variable genomic features among vertebrates, impacting genome size, structure, and composition. Despite their important role in shaping genomic diversity, they have mostly been studied in mammals, which display one of the least diverse genomes in terms of TE diversity. Recent new resources in reptilian genomics have opened a broader perspective about TE evolution in amniotes. We discuss these recent results by showing that TE diversity is high in reptiles, particularly in squamates, with strong heterogeneity in the number of TE classes retained in each lineage, even at short evolutionary scales. More research is needed to uncover the exact mechanisms that regulate TE proliferation in reptiles and to what extent these selfish elements can play a role in local adaptation or in the emergence of barriers to gene flow.


Studies of reptile (nonavian reptiles) chromosomes began well over a century ago (1897) with the initial report on the description of sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) chromosomes. Since then, chromosome analysis in reptiles has contributed significantly to understanding chromosome evolution in vertebrates. Reptile karyotypes are also unique, as being the only vertebrate group where the majority of the species possess variable numbers of macro- and microchromosomes, which was first reported for iguanids and teiids in 1921. In addition, many reptiles have microchromosomes as sex chromosomes, highlighting their evolutionary significance, yet very little is known about their evolutionary origin and significance in shaping amniote genomes. Advances in genomic technologies in recent years have accelerated our capacity to understand how sequences are arranged within a genome. However, genomic and cytogenetic analyses have been combined for only 3 species to provide a deeper understanding of reptile chromosome evolution and sequence organization. In this review, we highlight how a combined approach of cytogenetic analysis and sequence analysis in reptiles can help us answer fundamental questions of chromosome evolution in reptiles, including evolution of microchromosomes and sex chromosomes.