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Chromosome Res. 2010 Jun;18(4):459-71. doi: 10.1007/s10577-010-9124-0. Epub 2010 Apr 9.

Chromosomal evolution of Arvicolinae (Cricetidae, Rodentia). III. Karyotype relationships of ten Microtus species.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine, SB RAS, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia.


The genus Microtus consists of 65 extant species, making it one of the rodentia genera with the highest number of species. The extreme karyotype diversification in Microtus has made them an ideal species group for comparative cytogenetics and cytotaxonomy. Conventional comparative cytogenetic studies in Microtus have been based mainly on chromosomal banding patterns; the number of Microtus species examined by molecular cytogenetics-cross-species chromosome painting-is limited. In this study, we used whole chromosome painting probes of the field vole Microtus agrestis to detect regions of homology in the karyotypes of eight Microtus species. For almost all investigated species, species-specific associations of conserved chromosomal segments were revealed. Analysis of data obtained here and previously published data allowed us to propose that the ancestral Microtus species had a 2n = 54 karyotype, including two associations of field vole chromosomal segments (MAG 1/17 and 2/8). Further mapping of the chromosome rearrangements onto a molecular phylogenetic tree allows the reconstruction of a karyotype evolution pathway in the Microtus genus.

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