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Genes (Basel). 2018 Sep 27;9(10). pii: E470. doi: 10.3390/genes9100470.

B Chromosomes in the Drosophila Genus.

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Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.
Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.
Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA.


Our current knowledge of B chromosome biology has been augmented by an increase in the number and diversity of species observed to carry B chromosomes as well as the use of next-generation sequencing for B chromosome genomic analysis. Within the genus Drosophila, B chromosomes have been observed in a handful of species, but recently they were discovered in a single laboratory stock of Drosophila melanogaster. In this paper, we review the B chromosomes that have been identified within the Drosophila genus and pay special attention to those recently found in D. melanogaster. These newly-discovered B chromosomes have centromeres, telomeres, and a number of simple satellite repeats. They also appear to be entirely heterochromatic since next-generation sequencing of isolated B chromosomes did not detect sequences associated with known genic regions. We also summarize what effects the B chromosomes have been found to have on the A chromosomes. Lastly, we highlight some of the outstanding questions regarding B chromosome biology and discuss how studying B chromosomes in Drosophila melanogaster, which is a versatile model system with a wealth of genetic and genomic tools, may advance our understanding of the B chromosome's unique biology.


Drosophila; sSMC; satellite DNA; supernumerary

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