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Cytogenet Cell Genet. 1987;44(1):11-7.

Folate-sensitive fragile sites on the X-chromosome heterochromatin of the Indian mole rat, Nesokia indica.


Folate-sensitive fragile sites have been demonstrated on the X chromosome of the Indian mole rat, Nesokia indica (subfamily Murinae), utilizing peripheral blood lymphocyte cultures. All normal female individuals expressed fragile sites on the constitutive heterochromatic long arm of one of their two X chromosomes (heterozygous expression); in contrast, no fragile sites were found on the single X chromosome of normal males. Preferential transmission of the maternal fragile X to the daughters is therefore suggested. Four sites have been detected so far: fra Xq1, fra Xq2, fra Xq3, and fra Xc (centromeric). It is significant that their location corresponds to the regions where constitutive heterochromatic deletions occur that result in a variety of polymorphic X chromosomes in natural populations of Nesokia. Thus there is a correlation between fragile sites, deletion sites, and karyotypic changes. In individuals that did not reproduce in the laboratory, there were more fragile sites on both X chromosomes of the females (homozygous/double heterozygous expression) and also on the X of the males (hemizygous expression). This difference in fragile site expression from the normal situation could be attributed to one or more new mutations. However, the mechanism by which fragile sites influence reproductive performance is unclear.

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