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Chromosome Res. 2007;15(3):283-97. Epub 2007 May 10.

Karyotype evolution and phylogenetic relationships of hamsters (Cricetidae, Muroidea, Rodentia) inferred from chromosomal painting and banding comparison.

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Institute of Cytology and Genetics, SB RAS, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia.


The evolutionary success of rodents of the superfamily Muroidea makes this taxon the most interesting for evolution studies, including study at the chromosomal level. Chromosome-specific painting probes from the Chinese hamster and the Syrian (golden) hamster were used to delimit homologous chromosomal segments among 15 hamster species from eight genera: Allocricetulus, Calomyscus, Cricetulus, Cricetus, Mesocricetus, Peromyscus, Phodopus and Tscherskia (Cricetidae, Muroidea, Rodentia). Based on results of chromosome painting and G-banding, comparative maps between 20 rodent species have been established. The integrated maps demonstrate a high level of karyotype conservation among species in the Cricetus group (Cricetus, Cricetulus, Allocricetulus) with Tscherskia as its sister group. Species within the genera Mesocricetus and Phodopus also show a high degree of chromosomal conservation. Our results substantiate many of the conclusions suggested by other data and strengthen the topology of the Muroidea phylogenetic tree through the inclusion of genome-wide chromosome rearrangements. The derivation of the muroids karyotypes from the putative ancestral state involved centric fusions, fissions, addition of heterochromatic arms and a great number of inversions. Our results provide further insights into the karyotype relationships of all species investigated.

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